The city of Grande Prairie’s new city council is set to face their first major task, assessing the current budget that is set for 2018. Budgets are set for four years at a time but are reassessed every year to account for economic changes or other unexpected situations which can impact the city’s bottom line.
The current budget plan was made for 2015 – 2018 and due to the economic slump last year’s planned tax increase of 4.2 percent was cut to just 0.5 percent. Council also said no to numerous funding requests last year to keep costs down, including the Bear Creek Folk Festival which has since received a $100,000 grant from the city. Evergreen Park was also denied support last year and they were back at council recently to resubmit their request for $200,000 per year for the next five years.
The results of the Citizen Budget survey will be shared with council. Other items on the agenda include an economic forecast, a review of the 2015-2018 Council strategy, budget accomplishments from the past two years, and a summary of the 2018 Budget Plan – projected operating and capital expenditures.
Mayor Bill Given previously said he was hoping to see a variety of budget scenarios. The city administration plans to present three scenarios – tax increases of zero per cent and three per cent and the implications of maintaining the budget as is. Council as a whole will examine the information and once they have determined the “tax implications” after deliberations the full budget plan will be presented for approval at the December 4 council meeting.
The city says in 2017, the Operating Budget is $163,397,739 while the municipality has $34,194,538 for capital expenditures.