Grande Prairie City Council has endorsed its largest capital budget to date with a 0.15% tax increase to help stimulate the economy and create jobs.
Council’s budget balances fiscal constraint with the need to provide a strong level of service and tie major investments to Council priorities to support to the community sustainably into the future.
“It has without a doubt been a challenging year around the world, including right here in Grande Prairie. With new and unique challenges such as the pandemic and reductions in provincial funding paired, it has become more important than ever for Council to hone in on responsible and sustainable operations for the municipality,” says Mayor Bill Given.
“Recognizing the hardships many are facing are right now, our goal with this budget is to maximize value for service and invest strategically to stimulate the economy while building a strong future for our community and minimize the tax burden on our individual residents and businesses.”
Highlights from Budget 2021 include:
- Downtown Rehabilitation Phase 4: $14,000,000
- Roads: $8,000,000
- Old Hwy 43 Rehab: $6,000,000
- Stormline replacement and rehab: $3,250,000
- Outdoor park furniture: $100,000
- Pedestrian links: $3,000,000
- Transit on-demand software: $100,000
- A small-scale renovation of Revolution Place focused on the reception, lobby area and loading dock: $3,000,000
- Nitehawk capital funding: $375,000
- Affordable housing: $300,000
- A transfer of $390,000 in funding from the 2021 RCMP budget towards the Mobile Outreach Program
- Police model review: $150,000
Council approved the transfer of the 2020 Municipal Operating Stimulus Transfer (MOST) Funding to the Future Expenditures Reserve, decreased transfers to the Facility Renewal Reserve by $955,000 and eliminated the $800,000 transfer to the Financial Stabilization Reserve.
For more information on these and other projects, view the 2021 Budget Book at engage.cityofgp.com/budget2021.
Over the past Council term, a strong focus was on priority-based budgeting, seeking corporate efficiencies, and investment in significant community projects. During this time, Council has managed to keep the cumulative tax rate below zero while the cumulative inflation rate over the same period is 7.31%.
This past year has also brought significant challenges for the municipality, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and provincial pressures which have had a major impact on City finances.
Budget engagement occurred from June 25 to October 13 and was completed fully online, including a survey, Idea Space and Q&A, online budget allocator, Balancing Act budget balancing tool, and a targeted stakeholder engagement session with the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce.
Results from the City’s bi-annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey completed January 6-28, 2020 were further incorporated as part of the public engagement process for this budget.
The 2021 City Budget will receive final ratification at the November 30 Council meeting.