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HomeNewsMunicipal Affairs Minister gets closer look at Grande Prairie region

Municipal Affairs Minister gets closer look at Grande Prairie region

Alberta’s Minister of Municipal Affairs says Grande Prairie’s voice is being heard. Shaye Anderson has been in the region for the past two days, meeting with councillors from rural municipalities, local businesses, and residents along the way.

While he understands the area fared better than most in Alberta during the economic downturn, Anderson says he wants to hear what challenges communities are still facing. For many, that seems to be the pains that come with economic growth.

“You’re talking about workers that are here, big trucks on the road, so you’re getting more pressures on the roads and infrastructure, more pressure on water/wastewater facilities, more pressure on the hospital, things like that. Those are the big ones that they usually come to me with, talking about funding going into the future.”

One concern being raised by municipalities across the province is that the 2017 levies on properties with oil and gas wells and power and utility lines were left the same as in 2016. The County has said it was told to expect an increase in the fall, but later found out it wasn’t coming.

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Anderson says the decision came after discussions with the energy ministry, and a promise to review linear property assessment modifiers. While the economy is improving, many energy companies are reporting a lag in getting back on their feet.

“If we don’t do this freeze right now, we risk putting some folks into some situations that aren’t good and we don’t want to lose these companies,” Anderson argues. “It is a fine balance; it wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s a promise we made to freeze that just for this year.”

The decision not to increase the modifiers this year means a $1.2 million difference to the County’s budget, and $5.3 million to the MD of Greenview. Anderson says he’s empathetic to the difficulties they face in setting their budgets without finalized funding amounts, but notes the municipalities had not yet received their taxes.

Among the minister’s stops in the Peace Country were the Beaverlodge Farmers’ Market, CIA Solutions, and Grande Prairie Regional College.

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