The threat of a strike has Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows scrambling to mail out property tax notices before postal workers set up picket lines.
Last week, members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers voted 94.5 percent in favour of striking – if necessary – to obtain a collective agreement.
“We hope the sky-high strike vote and the record turnout of our members will put pressure on Canada Post to negotiate,” said CUPW national president Denis Lemelin.
“Canada Post has been very focused on its demands, not ours.
The corporation wants to pay new employees 30 percent less.”
Meanwhile negotiations continue, with the aid of a government-appointed conciliator.
If an agreement is not reached, the postal workers’ union gains the right to strike on May 24 at midnight.
It means Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will have about a week to calculate, prepare and mail out property tax bills.
Both municipalities have yet to give final readings to their tax rate bylaws, but will do so before May 15.
“It is important to us that we try and get it out before this potential deadline, so that we don’t have the bills sitting in a warehouse and not moving,” said Pitt Meadows director of finance Dean Rear, who has about 7,500 bills to prepare.
“If it does happen it will be a bit of a scramble for us but we are putting plans in place to try and deal with it.”
Most home owners in Pitt Meadows will see an increase of around 5.95 per cent this year.
Maple Ridge’s tax rate bylaw, which sets a 5.6 per cent increase, will get three readings next week.
A postal strike won’t mean you can delay paying your bills. The deadline for payment is July 4.
Paul Gill, Maple Ridge’s general manager of corporate and financial services, points people to the district’s online payment feature, should a strike hit. Their department mails out an average of 25,000 tax notices.
“These tools should be considered whether there is a mail strike or not,” said Gill. “The days of people getting a bill in the mail are starting to become passé.”