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Council delayed in finalizing a four year capital plan for Grande Prairie

Even after five days of deliberations in November, deciding on a final operating and capital budget was not so straight forward for city council last night.

Several councillors had misgivings about the amount of tax increases that would come from the proposed spending..

Ultimately an operating budget was approved, but council rejected the capital budget.

Councillor Lorne Radbourne was one of two votes in favour of the capital budget, and says he would have liked to see more conversation about specific improvements to the capital budget.

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“I would expect my colleagues to have specific changes that they would recommend so that we can look at them and vote. I’m open to massaging and changing the budget, but I think they need to come with concrete suggestions as to how the budget can be improved.”

Councillor Rory Tarant voted against both the operating and capital budgets. He says he’s not in favour of the resulting tax increases, and feels home ownership is becoming more and more unaffordable in the city, especially for young families.

“I think that we on council really need to be prudent with our spending. I think that there are quite a few items that are going to be great additions to the city, but whether we need them in the next four years is questionable, and I think we can look at redoing those.”

Councillor Jackie Clayton voted against the capital budget, and says she is now looking forward to revisiting the proposed plan and making some changes.

“There are some items that were passed unanimously, like 68 Ave and 92 Street. I’m hoping we don’t revisit those, but there’s some other subjects such as the Leisure Centre renovations that wasn’t unanimous, and that’s obviously one of the biggest things on our capital item list.”

Capital budget discussions have been tabled until a Committee of the Whole meeting before January 15.

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