City’s announcement on bill paying was ‘clear and cold’

Trevor Hutchinson headshot

By Trevor Hutchinson

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.

Tax payments and utilities payments “must be received in our office on or before the due date.

On a day like yesterday (Thursday, March 19), when so many Kawartha Lakes residents were dealing with being laid off or having reduced work hours; when business owners were frantically trying to figure out next steps as many of them were closing; when families were huddled together just trying to deal with the new emotional and financial reality of social distancing and all the worries that come with it, the City of Kawartha Lakes took time to make an important announcement about COVID-19.

Trevor Hutchinson, contributing editor.

And that announcement was clear and cold: Tax payments and utilities payments “must be received in our office on or before the due date.

“Late payments will be subject to penalty and interest charges. We do not accept the postmark as proof of the date of receipt.”

I mean in these unprecedented times, we don’t even get the benefit of a couple days postal grace. That’s hardcore.

Interestingly, on the same day, the City of Toronto put out an announcement on the same topic of bills and taxes. Toronto’s was a little different in tone, though.

That city announced a 60 day grace period for municipal bills as part of an accompanying letter from Toronto Mayor John Tory that outlines a series of steps on a comprehensive economic recovery from the COVID-19 situation. Our City? Pay your bills, no exceptions.

Like many people these days, I am spending a little more time reading traditional and social media. It was interesting to see the instant negative backlash to the city’s tone deaf announcement.

Now some of those people would have complained about a payment reminder in any case. But the online comments from our city residents were starkly different than those of Toronto.

They seemed angrier and I think for good reason.

It was interesting that on the very same day one city councillor still had time to like a hyper-partisan tweet criticizing our national response to the new crisis.

Clearly he didn’t get the memo: We don’t have time for partisan crap.

Our premier has recently said he likes the writing in the Toronto Star.

That’s perhaps a sign of the apocalypse, but no different than the leftists I follow online approving of Ford and some right-of-centre folks applauding the prime minister. We are living in suddenly different times.

And those times call for us to work together.

And for city council that means taking a look at relief for residents for their municipal bills. Your residents need your leadership.


  1. wayne medford says:

    This is beyond the pale……All councilors and the mayor, need to be interviewed a give their reason for their decision……All levels of government, even the US, have provided relief for a period of time during this exceptional challenge. The lack of compassion leaves one very angry. They must come clear, NOW! Stand up with your decision, THAT is leadership.
    On another level, where is the mayor and council, providing leadership, compassion, guidance, in helping the community deal with the crisis, bringing the community together, helping and supporting the most needy in this community, as all other governments are doing. This is stunning for the TOTAL lack of compassion…..

  2. Joan sugden says:

    Is this the same mayor who just had a huge pay increase! Maybe he could pay our taxes for us.

  3. dik burns says:

    Why wont the town work with the Taxpayers?, What other projects are on the agenda?
    Is it such a burden for council?

  4. Anne Stewart says:

    Ok Andy u want the taxes we want the roads fixed sick and tired of pit holes all over the bloody roads u are a discrace

  5. Robert Bennett says:

    This is the wrong message at the wrong time. Democratic governments everywhere have to think and act so as to earn and retain the respect and cooperation of the people, which means amending rules and regulations when new challenges or dangers present themselves. This City of Kawartha Lakes messaging should prompt us to insist that citizens have a legal means of immediately removing politicians from office who insist on fair weather rules and regulations while the storm of the century, with no early end in sight, is swirling about us.

  6. pete says:

    These idiots cant even fix the roads . Don’t expect any help from any politician . Your on your own no matter what lies they spout.

  7. Avatar photo Roderick Benns says:

    Hi All: Some of you may not have seen the mayor’s response which came out shortly after this article.

    Here it is below:

  8. Darlene says:

    It would be wonderful if the water department and hydro department would lower their rates during this difficult time with the Corona virus. I’m sure a lot of people would agree.

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