By Melinda Munson

Skagwegians worried about high penalties for failure to pay taxes by Sept. 1 were granted some relief with the passage of Ordinance 20-17 on Aug. 26. The new ordinance allows the property tax delinquency date to be set by resolution to “mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Assemblymember Orion Hanson brought the ordinance forward after receiving a letter from business owner Jim Jewell. According to Hanson, under previous municipality code tied to state statute, a 20% fine would be imposed on late property taxes, along with an additional 15% compounding rate “on top of that.”

“The city needs taxes to go about its function to pay its bills and run our town but a 35% penalty rate, I find that to be not at all appropriate,” Hanson said.

Finance Chair Steve Burnham suggested the special Aug. 26 meeting so the second reading would take place before property tax penalties came into effect.

After Ordinance 20-17 passed, the assembly unanimously approved Resolution 20-35R, which changed property tax delinquency dates as follows.

•Delinquency date for 2020 property taxes is Sept. 1, 2021.

• Delinquency date for 2021 property taxes is Jan. 1, 2022.

•Delinquency date for 2022 property taxes and subsequent years returns to Sept. 1 of the year the assessment is made.

Borough Clerk Emily Deach said a notice will be mailed to all property owners.