The number of property owners who applied to defer their municipal taxes this year is up slightly across the Tri-Cities.
In Coquitlam, 583 homeowners postponed their annual tax bill - an increase of 113 over last year, said financial services manager Sheena MacLeod.
Of that group, 540 applied under the regular program (for people aged over 55, surviving spouses and disabled residents) while 43 taxpayers sought to delay under the family program, available to parents with children under 18 years of age.
Property tax deferment is a loan program offered to homeowners in need, and interest is charged on deferment accounts: 1% for the regular program and 3% for families. A homeowner's principal residence (but not rental properties) qualifies for property tax deferment if the owner has at least 25% of the current assessed value in equity; the family program requires a minimum equity of 15%.
In Port Coquitlam, the city took 182 applications, seven of which were from families. That number has been about the same over the past few years, said corporate services director Mindy Smith.
And, in Port Moody, 198 property owners applied to hold off on paying their tax bills, up 16 from last year, city spokesperson Leslyn Johnson said. Of the PoMo group, 182 owners applied under the regular program while 16 were families.
Municipal budgets are not affected by the deferment programs as the provincial government reimburses the cash; but not all the money comes in by July 4 - the property tax deadline - so municipalities take a small hit in lost interest, MacLeod said.