The City of Grande Prairie officially ratified the 2022 municipal budget after city council’s final meeting of the calendar year. The budget includes a 1.16 per cent municipal tax increase, as well as strategic planning with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.
Mayor Jackie Clayton feels that council has put the city in a good position moving forward.
“We had some deep discussions on everything from operations to capital, to infrastructure enhancement, and supporting the community. Seeing a 1.16% municipal tax increase when a 1.55% increase was recommended by the administration is something we feel good about,” she says.
It also represents Clayton’s first budget as mayor and leader of council, which was a big change for her.
“It’s very exciting to be Mayor and take part in my first budget deliberation as the leader of council. However, being the chair of the meeting sometimes doesn’t allow me the opportunity to ask as many questions as I would like,” she explains. “I felt that there were some great, relevant questions asked, and I was really happy with the thorough discussion we had.”
Clayton and city council continue to recognize the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has on the community and they have some decisions to make regarding a surplus that is available to them.
“There are many considerations given on a day-to-day basis. First and foremost, we have to keep our community safe, while still being able to offer amenities and operations to the city knowing that the participation numbers are down for many programs,” she says.
The surplus exists because the city had many amenities and facilities not operating at full capacity. City council will have some decisions to make in terms of what to do with the extra money that they wouldn’t normally have.