County interim budget forecasts no tax increase for residents

·2 min read

For the third straight year, the County of Grande Prairie has approved a zero tax increase.

The county approved a $128 million interim budget on Dec. 10.

"With our tentative approval of another zero per cent increase to municipal taxation, council considered (our) long-term financial sustainability while ensuring citizens and businesses receive the services they need in a fiscally responsible manner," said Leanne Beaupre, County of Grande Prairie reeve.

The final budget for 2022 will be released later this spring after the province sets the property tax levy for education requestions and confirms property assessment values.

The 2022 budget includes expenditures of $96 million for general operations and $32 million for capital.

Hythe's dissolution in 2021 had financial implications for the county, including inherited debt and a sizable infrastructure deficit. Municipal Affairs allows the county to impose extra taxes to repay debt; council adopted a balanced approach to bring Hythe’s municipal tax rate into line with the rest of the county over time.

Council approved a phased tax rate reduction for the Hamlet of Hythe, bringing them into line with the rest of the county. The reduction will take place from 2022 to 2025 and would apply to all properties including residential, non-residential and farmland.

Hythe taxpayers will continue to contribute to repaying long-term debts from their community through an additional tax until those debts are cleared.

The county says that 72 per cent of the overall capital budget will go toward road and bridge projects.

The proposed Clairmont RCMP Rural Detachment will receive $3.8 million for land acquisition and design.

The Aquatera Clairmont regional lift station will also receive $3.8 million.

An additional $3.33 million, for a total of $10 million over three years (2021, 2022, and 2023) will go to the Highway 40 twinning and bridge projects.

The Teepee Creek Fire Hall replacement is expected to get $200,000 for land acquisition and design.

The county noted that despite the province's decision to eliminate tax revenue on new drilling beginning in 2021 (which stops municipalities from collecting taxes on new wells and pipelines for three years) costs did not fall on residents and businesses.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

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