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County finalizes balanced budget

The County of Grande Prairie has come back from a projected deficit of $900,000. Reeve Leanne Beaupre says they ended up with a $2.7 million dollar surplus for this year, which will go towards balancing the 2017 budget. That’s largely in part from some major cost cutting on capital road construction projects.

“A lot of those went out this year for tender after Christmas and we did see a substantial amount of savings on that. We were able to find $4.4 million in cost savings in our operating and capital budgets to help bring the deficit down.”

Some road projects have also been transferred over to the City of Grande Prairie so they’re no longer in the County’s budget. In total, they’re spending $21 million on capital road projects. Beaupre says they’ve done everything they can to impact residents in a positive way.

“We’re very proud of the fact that our budget has come in as a balanced budget and we’ve been able to contribute to quality of life as well as continuing to invest in those capital projects.”

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$5 million is also going to support local sports, recreation and cultural organizations in the County, City and surrounding communities. That includes hiring an additional Enhanced RCMP member, helping fund Sexsmith’s new fire hall and building two softball diamonds at the Crosslink County Sportsplex.

The average rate payer will see their tax bill go up two per cent as a result. That doesn’t include the provincial education tax and the Senior’s Foundation requisitions, which both went up by about 10 per cent this year.

In total, the operating budget for 2016 is $72.2 million and the capital budget is $48.6 million. $1.07 million is being transferred to the City under their tax sharing agreement for co-generational facility revenues.

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