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County in the middle of budget decisions

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The County of Grande Prairie is setting its budget for the next two years this week. CAO Bill Rogan admits this will be a diffucult year, with property assessments down and as many as 200 wells getting shut in. The region has seen a little growth in the number of properties paying taxes, but market value is down as much as five per cent for residential and seven per cent for non-residential.

The County is looking at a forecasted surplus of $835,000 for 2016, $750,000 of which could go to capital construction projects in 2017. Their debt is project at $34.3 million, which is about a quarter of their limit. It’s expected that will be down to $27 million by the end of 2021.

Day one of budget deliberations focused on 2017, which is looking to have a $7.2 million deficit ahead of any changes to the budget. Five million of that is from the drop in property market values. A $9.5 million dollar deficit is projected for 2018.

However, the County is still looking at spending major dollars on projects across the region. That includes more than $32 million on roads, $175,000 for the Teepee Creek Stampede, and $66,000 to operate the Beaverlodge Pool.

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The goal overall is for residents not to see their taxes go up. The interim budget will be approved by Thursday.

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