VICTORIA -- Victoria homeowners are getting a break on their property taxes this year, as the city looks for ways to help its residents deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

City council announced Thursday there will be a zero per cent increase in taxes on commercial and residential properties in 2020. People will also have more time to pay them.

The property tax due date has been pushed back more than a month, to Aug. 4.

People who pay their property taxes late will also face a lesser penalty. The city will be charging two per cent per month for late payments between August and the end of the year.

"The measures we've taken today are small in comparison (to those taken by the province)," said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. "Keeping property taxes at the same rate they were in 2019 will keep more money directly in people's pockets."

Keeping property taxes down means the city will be putting $4.68 million less into infrastructure reserves this year. The mayor says this will not affect projects that have already been given the green light.

"The funding that we are not putting into the reserves this year doesn’t have an impact on any of the projects that are underway, or any of the projects that have been deferred this year," said Helps. "That includes Crystal Pool, the Topaz Park Skate Park and artificial turf field; all of those things are already accounted for."

The grace period to pay utility bills is also being doubled, city council announced Thursday. Instead of 45 days, people will now have 90 days to pay.

Victoria drivers are also getting a break. Starting Friday, parking rates will drop at city parkades and at street meters. The new daily maximum rate for parkades will be $5. Parking limits on streets will no longer be in effect, expect in half-hour parking zones, and meters will now only cost $1 per hour.

The council says it will look at the 2020 budget again in July to reassess these efforts. It is also calling on the province to in reinstate the property tax deferment program and extend it to commercial property owners.