City Council seeks to ratify the 2022 budget at the council’s last meeting of the year on Monday

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The Grande Prairie city council will meet for the last time in 2021 on Monday, and it is expected to ratify the 2022 budget, which will see property taxes rise 1.16 percent.

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“I think the council did a good job of keeping the budget in check, a 1.16 percent increase in the median household equates to less than a cup of coffee,” said Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton.

Clayton believes that next year’s small tax increase can help support economic and infrastructure needs, while continuing to support road improvements, fixing play areas, adding trees and supporting the hospital.

“We know that this council took a strategic approach, while also being able to support economic development and add some amenities within our community,” Clayton said.

Other cities in Alberta are also considering an increase in property taxes. Next year, the City of Calgary will increase taxes by 3.87%, Edmonton proposes a 1.8% increase and Red Deer has chosen to freeze property taxes at zero percent, however they will seek increases of more than 3%. in 2023 and beyond.

“Given the rate of inflation that we have seen in recent years, we are not actually increasing property taxes by a commensurate amount. Compared to many other municipalities, we are actually below the increase that other municipalities are experiencing, ”said Clayton.

While city officials are optimistic about next year’s budget game plan, there may be some roadblocks along the way.

Danielle Whiteway, City of Grande Prairie Chief Financial Officer, says the pandemic has reduced revenues as the city receives lower-than-expected user fees and experiences lower-than-expected attendance at city facilities.

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“We had to take a hard look at revenue, especially on our events and entertainment side. Our recreational facilities just weren’t seeing member participation that we once saw, “Whiteway said,” so that did affect revenue for 2022. “

Another headwind is persistent inflation that may continue into 2022 and could stretch consumers and city resources.

“That is something that we are continually evaluating,” Whiteway said.

“We will have to look and see what the future years will bring, but we are trying to be as efficient as possible to keep our spending below inflation,” Whiteway said.

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