While none of the major projects were changed, city council was able to agree last night on a revamped capital budget that will provide $1.8 Million in funding flexibility.
Mayor Bill Given says he’s happy with the changes that came out of the budget review, making the city less reliant on provincial funding.
“Essentially what council did at the budget review was pull back on a couple of the projects that we had intended to do with provincial funding, and I think that that’s a really prudent choice given the fact that there’s some uncertainty around what the province is going to do with the low price of oil.”
This revamped capital plan will still investing in a lot of smaller projects for the city, and in upgrades to help maintain existing facilities.
“The largest two facility projects that are in the capital plan are the expansion to the City Service Centre and the reopening of the Leisure Centre. I guess the largest overall project is the reinvestment in the city’s downtown core, which is $20 Million over the course of the four year plan.”
The total budget from 2015 to 2018 is worth $172 Million.
Grande Prairie residents can expect to see a 4.2 per cent increase to taxes per year.
However there were two councillors who were not in favour of a tax increase that size.
Kevin McLean says he doesn’t feel comfortable implementing an increase over 3 per cent.
“I believe capital tax, we could have used a lot of it for bringing down the increase in property taxes. As well, I wanted the operations to be looked at through certain avenues, and I think we could have brought it down quite a bit.”
McLean says he is proud of the fact that this Council was able to say no, and bring the budget back for a review, the first time that has happened in 40 years, according to Councillor Helen Rice.