The County of Grande Prairie council has signed off on the 2022 capital and operating budgets. The budget comes in at $188 million, with $104 million set aside for general operations, $7 million for debt payments, and $77 million for capital, including $39.7 million in projects continued from previous years.
County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says she’s pleased with the result and hopes residents will benefit from the new budget as well.
“This is the third year in a row where Council and Administration have developed a balanced budget that invests in critical projects and essential programs with no increase to the municipal portion of property taxes. We recognize the pressures the continued economic recovery and global pandemic have put on many households and businesses. We are thankful that our strategic decision-making allows us to continue providing some relief to County taxpayers,” she says.
The County is facing more than $4.5 million in lost revenue and $2 million in unpaid property taxes after the Alberta government changed how industrial properties are assessed.
With the dissolution of the former village of Hythe, the county is dealing with inherited debt and a fairly big infrastructure deficit. Council has put in place a phased tax rate reduction that will put Hythe’s municipal tax rate in line with the rest of the county, which begins in 2022 and ends in 2025.
Roughly 69 per cent of the 2022 capital budget is going toward road and bridge projects, such as $10 million toward the Highway 40 Twinning and Bridget Construction project. $6.5 million is going towards recreation, community, culture, library, seniors, and special needs transportation. $1.45 million is also set aside for the Town of Beaverlodge’s efforts to build a new fire hall.
The final budget was approved unanimously by county council. In her closing remarks at the final budget meeting, Beaupre called the 2022 budget the most well-prepared and presented budget she’s experienced in the county by all parties involved.