City of Grande Prairie councillors will sink their teeth into the 2022 municipal budget on Thursday, with a proposed 1.55 per cent municipal tax increase on the table.

The proposed budget, including $248 million earmarked for operations, will look to provide $23 million for RCMP services and $13 million for transportation needs.

Councillor Dylan Bressey says with a below-inflation increase that is being proposed, and in the context of having lower taxes by one per cent over the last four years, he is happy to see the work administration has put on the table. He says, however, he expects a lot of deliberation before it’s signed and sealed.

“Every year you have inflation that raises costs, so to have a budget that is below the cost of inflation is always a challenging thing to do, and I think if we want to cut our residential taxes, it means we have to start looking at other revenue sources,” he adds.

Bressey says while that search continues, they have to continue to walk a fine line when it comes to the wants and priorities of residents, and the financial realities faced by the municipality.

“When you look at our citizen satisfaction survey, we’ve got a pretty even mix of people who say they want to reduce taxes no matter what it takes, and some who say they want to pay more taxes if it means increased services,” he says.

“I think the biggest challenge we have in it, is we know in the next couple of years we know we are likely to see a $3 million to $4 million cut per year in our infrastructure funding, that’s really a huge hole in our budget that we need to wrap our head around,” he adds.

You can read the full proposed 2022 City of Grande Prairie here.