The Kodiak City Council extended coronavirus-related emergency ordinances allowing the city to modify utility fees and penalties for late sales tax filings for residents and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The extension also allows city councilors to phone in to meetings. 

The ordinance modifying public meeting participation expired Sunday and has been extended  until August 15 or until rescinded by the council. After the expiration of the ordinance, or when the council deems it safe, the council intends to resume in-person meetings, said City Manager Mike Tvenge at a city council meeting on Thursday.

 “The risk of COVID-19 will continue to exist,” Tvenge said, explaining the reasoning behind the extensions.  

The council also extended late sales tax penalties and interest waivers, which will remain in effect through the third quarter, for sales tax filings due April 30, July 31 and Oct. 31. 

“The ordinance allows the city interim finance director to work with businesses struggling with COVID-19 mandated closures that are affecting scheduled sales tax remittance,” Tvenge said. 

Businesses will still be required to remit their sales taxes, but if they are having difficulty paying them because of COVID-19, they can sign a financial hardship form and work with the Finance Department on a payment plan. 

“Businesses requesting assistance under payment plans will be handled on a case-by-case basis upon approval from the finance director,” Tvenge said. 

The council also extended the restriction against imposing late fees or disconnecting utilities for customers who have submitted financial hardship forms. The extension will be in effect until Nov. 15, or until the business resumes operation or a proclamation announces that a public health disaster emergency no longer exists. 

Residents who complete the financial hardship form sent out with the utility bills are eligible to have their late utility payment fees of $35 waived. 

Businesses can also be eligible for a waiver or reduction of utility payments incurred as early as March 24, when businesses were mandated to close or adapt services due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Businesses that were mandated to close completely because of the state’s COVID-19 precautionary measures are eligible to receive relief from the costs incurred during the closure. 

Partially closed businesses, such as restaurants and stores that were open limited hours, can also work with the Finance Department to reduce their utility payments. 

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