EDMONTON -- Edmonton businesses will get a two per cent property tax break and homeowners shouldn't see a rise in their tax bill either, council decided Wednesday. 

The city says its 2020 budget accounts for the financial hit by COVID-19, which otherwise could have meant a tax levy increase of 7.6 per cent.

Part of the relief comes as council distributes a provincial reduction in education property taxes.

The City of Edmonton has estimated the coronavirus pandemic will create a $164-million hole in its budget by the end of September.

It says most of the shortfall is balanced by cutting spending – like deferring projects and nearly 3,000 temporary layoffs—and reducing transfers from its operating to capital accounts and office budgets.

While construction will continue, projects like the Bus Network Redesign, on-demand transit service pilot, and the start of the waste cart program were put on hold.

The provincial government is taking more steps to help Albertans and their small and medium-sized businesses “stay afloat” while the pandemic and free-falling energy prices wreak economic havoc.