Grande Prairie is showing signs of economic recovery, but Chief Financial Officer Danielle Whiteway says that the pandemic has changed how the city looked at the budget for 2022.
“We had to really take a hard look at the revenues, especially when it comes to the events and entertainment side of things, and our recreational facilities. We’re just not seeing the membership and participation that we once did. That did affect the revenues going into 2022,” she says.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Committee meeting, Whiteway says they continue to do their due diligence on the city budget.
“We take a look every month at where our actuals are compared to the budget and we do regular analysis throughout the year. Going into 2022, we have pretty much made our anticipated projections of potential revenue losses. We will continue evaluating those revenues and potentially, when we do move past the pandemic, we can adjust said revenues into the future years,” she adds.
Mayor Jackie Clayton says that the 1.16 per cent tax increase will help with the recovery process for the city.
“Given the rate of inflation we’ve seen over the past few years, we’re actually not increasing property taxes a proportionate amount. Compared to other municipalities, we’re not seeing as much of an increase in that area.”
Clayton adds she feels that city council put together a very calculated plan to best serve the community going forward.
“We do know that city council took a strategic approach while being able to support economic development and add some amenities within our community. These include upgrading roads, supporting the local hospital, replacing some playgrounds in the community, and adding trees in the community. I think that council did a really good job of keeping the budget in check. The increase still supports our economy and infrastructure in the city, while at the same time keeping our tax rates low,” she says.
The final budget for 2022 will be ratified on December 13th.