Following deliberations, County Council approved the 2022 capital and operating budgets today with no increase to the municipal tax rate. The overall $188 million budget includes $104 million for general operations, $7 million for debt payments and $77 million for capital which includes $39.7 million in projects carried over from previous years.
The zero per cent increase to the municipal tax rate endorses what Council approved during the interim budget deliberations in December.
“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,” said Reeve Leanne Beaupre. “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.”
Once again, the budget maintains service levels and continues to place the County in a stable financial position.
“The 2022 budget balances support for our residents, communities and business while continuing to ensure the County’s fiscal sustainability in the face of increased pressures to our bottom line,” said Reeve Beaupre.
The County is contending with millions of dollars in lost revenue following provincial changes to how industrial properties are assessed. Between the holiday on taxes for new well and pipeline assessments and the permanently eliminated Well Drilling Equipment tax, lost revenue is estimated to be more than $4.5 million. Along with the changes to assessment, there are approximately $2 million dollars in unpaid property taxes.
Continued growth in assessment over the year, including new development as well as market value inflation, allowed the County to balance the overall budget.
The budget also includes financial implications from the Hythe dissolution, including inherited debt and a sizeable infrastructure deficit. Council adopted a balanced approach to bring Hythe’s municipal tax rate in line with the rest of the County over time. This phased tax rate reduction will take place from 2022 to 2025.
Some of the services, programs and projects Council approved for 2022 include:
- Approximately 69 per cent of the capital budget is going towards capital road and bridge projects including carryovers.
- $10 million toward the Highway 40 Twinning and Bridge Construction project, $3.33 million per year from 2021 to 2023 cost-shared with the Province and MD of Greenview
- $6.5 million in recreation, community, culture, library, seniors & special needs transportation, and FCSS grants to various organizations across the region
- $3.8 million in contributions to Aquatera for the Clairmont Regional Lift Station
- $2.4 million in Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) contributions, cost sharing agreements with other municipalities, including the City of Grande Prairie and the towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith, and Wembley
- $1.45 million to the Town of Beaverlodge for their new fire hall from 2019 to 2022, including an additional $450,000 for increased project costs
- $1.3 million to the City of Grande Prairie for the revenue sharing agreement which has the purpose of fostering regional development (share of municipal tax revenue - 20 per cent from the co-generational facility and 10 per cent on any new commercial/industrial development in areas serviced by Aquatera)
- $596,667 to Aquatera to subsidize wastewater rate increases for County residents connected to the system
- $200,000 for the land acquisition and design for the Teepee Creek Fire Hall replacement
Find out more about the 2022 operating and capital budget in the attached Budget Highlights.
Information provided by the County of Grande Prairie