County of Grande Prairie Council has approved the 2024 budget with a 2.9% municipal tax rate increase, reflecting public feedback emphasizing fire services and road conditions. This translates to approximately $58.69 annually, or $4.89 per month for a residential property valued at $482,000.

The $223.5 million budget includes $107 million for general operations, $6.5 million for debt payments, and $110 million for capital investments, including $54.3 million for ongoing projects.

Reeve Bob Marshall noted that recent Citizen Satisfaction Surveys indicated residents feel they receive good value for taxes. Despite inflationary pressures, the moderate increase aims to maintain service levels for a high quality of life.

The County faces challenges with lost revenue due to provincial assessment rule changes, totaling an estimated $12.7 million from paused taxes on new well and pipeline projects, and $9 million from the eliminated oil well drilling tax. Additionally, nearly $984,000 in unpaid property taxes from the oil and gas industry and $382,000 in write-offs pose further financial strain.

Approved initiatives for 2024 include allocating 63% of the capital budget to road and bridge projects, $5.4 million in grants for various organizations, $3 million for RCMP policing costs, and $2.4 million for Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) Contributions.

Council also earmarked $483,140 to enhance the County’s fire response, including personnel and equipment upgrades, and investments in healthcare, parkland patrol, and other community services.

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