page contents Vote Dylan Bressey, candidate for Grande Prairie City Council. Election 2017. page contents

Did Taxes Go Down? And How Do Taxes Get Set?

Did Taxes Go Down? And How Do Taxes Get Set?

in 2019, Council’s budget delivered a 4.1% decrease to an average residential property.

However, there is a problem with averages: most people fall above or below them.

I heard from a number of people who were grateful to see their tax bills go down. But Council also heard from a number of people who said something like “my taxes didn’t go down- what the heck!?”

To help ourselves and the community get a better picture of what happened with tax changes, Council asked for more information about how many properties received increases and decreases. This report was received on Tuesday. You can read it here.

Following is some of the information Council received about the changes in tax bills. I’m also including information about how your tax bill gets set.

Paying for Stormwater Systems

Paying for Stormwater Systems

One important service the City provides is a storm water system.

This is also an expensive service to deliver: in 2018, the City spent $6,325,000 on projects associated with storm drainage.

Currently, this work is primarily financed through tax revenue. However, Council is exploring moving towards a utility model for storm water. Under this model, property taxes would no longer go towards paying for drainage systems. This would lead to a tax reduction. However, property owners would receive a separate storm water utility bill….

I have no idea if I will ultimately support this change. However, I am looking forward to more information. A utility model for financing the storm system deserves consideration. It has a few potential benefits, the largest one being that it would likely deliver City tax payers a net financial savings.

Below is a bit more information about this idea and some potential benefits I see.

Parades and Facebook Tirades

Parades and Facebook Tirades

Since last July, there have been two fatalities at Canadian parades. This makes safety at our parades a top priority for me.

One important safety step taken at our Canada Day Parade: Enforcement Services was on site at the end point. Before drivers left, officers were checking to ensure loads were secure, passengers had seat belts, and other safety laws were being followed. My understanding is that several vehicles planning to depart were warned but not given tickets.

I would’ve been angry if this WASN’T happening. Last year, a man in Abbotsford died after the Canada Day Parade. He was on a float driving away, fell, and was run over. Knowing about this, I specifically looked to ensure we had people checking floats as they left.

Exactly one ticket was issued to a driver proceeding into regular traffic. There was a child without proper safety restraints in the cab.

There was a lot of anger about this on Facebook. Some [wrongly] alleged that multiple tickets were issued. And some suggested that Enforcement Services shouldn’t have been there at all.

I understand, but don’t agree with, the anger about the single ticket being issued. But, I really don’t understand those suggesting Enforcement Services shouldn’t have even been present at all. As the main organizer, the City is responsible to ensure floats leave safely.

I was also very disappointed to see the Facebook conversation. There was a lot of misinformation and destructive language being thrown around. This isn’t good for our community.

It’s fair and important to criticize government. But doing that in an abusive manner isn’t necessary or constructive.

I’d love to hear from you. Whether you have a different understanding of events, questions, or concerns: I’m happy to talk.

Changes to Transit

Changes to Transit

There have been some changes to transit recently approved. Notably, several routes will be receiving reduced service and fares are being increased. At the same time, Council has made tax reduction a priority. This has led some to be concerned about the future of transit. They wonder if Council is going to find savings by continuing transit reductions and fare increases.

I don’t think that will be the case. My perception isn’t that Council has supported transit changes with tax savings in mind. I think current changes are intended to allow for a better transit system in the future. However, I think our current process of implementing change it flawed. For that reason, I voted against our route and fair updates.

Because I know how important transit is to many, I wanted to share my views on current and potential future changes to transit.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference

This week, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is holding a conference…

This year’s FCM Conference is being held in Quebec City. The conference made recent Alberta news. Medicine Hat City Council voted to boycott it in response Quebec’s opposition to pipelines. Several people have asked me if Grande Prairie is joining this boycott.

I’m not aware of any other Alberta municipalities following Medicine Hat's lead. Here is a statement from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) President about the importance of this conference….

Councillors from Grande Prairie will be attending this conference. I will be one of them. Following are my reasons for doing so.

Provincial Photo Radar Review

Provincial Photo Radar Review

Photo radar is always a controversial topic. I’ve written about it in the past. I’ve also had hundreds of conversations about it. It is clear that whether they accept it or hate it, almost everyone seems to have a strong opinion about photo radar.

In response to criticisms and concerns, the province recently released a report on the use of Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) in Alberta.

It’s been interesting seeing responses to this study. Some have held it up as proof that photo radar is a “cash cow” with no contribution to safety. Others are using this study as evidence that ATE is responsibly used to decrease accidents.

Since it is being used to support contradictory conclusions, I’d encourage you to read the study for yourself. You can click here to access it.

Following is a summary of the key findings I see in this provincial study.

Childcare Fees

Childcare Fees

At our Feb 18th meeting, Council will be discussing proposed changes to City run preschool and after school care programs. As always, I'll be posting background information and my opinion the weekend before. But I'm still grappling to form my position.

Most of our discussion will revolve around fees.

So I'd love to ask you: what are your expectations around our fees for childcare?