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Budget 2019: Downtown Rehabilitation

Budget 2019: Downtown Rehabilitation

Budget deliberations are this week. Council will be debating whether or not to proceed with the next phase of the Downtown Rehabilitation….

Phase 4 centers on 100 Ave and 100 St. Council will be presented an option to do just 2 blocks of 100 Ave (from 100 St to Resources Road which is from CIBC to Co-op) or to do that plus two blocks of 100 St (from 99 Ave to 101 Ave which is from Wendy’s to Titos).

Aquatera would likely fund a portion of this cost, but at this time most of it would likely need to be financed through borrowing.

Budget 2019: Revenue and Cashflow

Budget 2019: Revenue and Cashflow

Often the central conversations about municipal budgets revolve around residential property rates. I’d suggest that we should have a much larger conversation about the budget.

In 2018, residential properties only accounted for a little over 50% of the total tax levies in Grande Prairie. They funded about 25% of the total capital and operating budgets. While it is very important for Council to be aware of residential tax rates, there are many other sources of revenue and factors which effect cash flow. All of these need to be considered when creating the budget.

Budget 2019: Getting to 0%

Budget 2019: Getting to 0%

This week I published two very optimistic blog posts. One outlined my four goals: to increase funding for crime, roads, and Leisure Centre planning without raising taxes. The other outlined City initiatives that will help us better spend and target money. I feel very optimistic about the upcoming budget.

That being said, I also do want to acknowledge a challenge before us. There are added expenses and financial pressures in 2019 that did not exist in 2018.

Budget 2019: Savings and Re-aligments

Budget 2019: Savings and Re-aligments

I don't think it is often possible for an organisation to do more in some service areas while also cutting taxes. And it certainly shouldn't be expected to happen year-over-year. Eventually you get to a point where you at least need to raise taxes enough to keep up with inflation.

That being said, I think there are significant opportunities before us this year…

In this blog post I’ll talk about the expense side of our balance sheet. I will discuss how the City is working to both find savings and to better target spending.

Maximum Impact Projects, Art in the Alley

Maximum Impact Projects, Art in the Alley

Tomorrow Council will be debating whether or not to fund Art in the Alley with $20,000.

This project was proposed by the Downtown Association. It would see businesses along 100 Ave putting pieces of art on their buildings in the rear lane ways. If their piece got approval from a committee appointed by the Downtown Association, it would be eligible for up to $5000 in matching funds.

I’ve had several conversations about this proposal, both from people who support it and from people who are opposed. These discussions were great. They got me thinking a lot about what types of projects are worth supporting. What is it that gives an initiative high or low possible impact?

Following is more information about my thoughts on Art in the Alley. I use it to discuss what I think makes for a good investment in community enhancement. After you read my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours.

Current Cannabis Bylaws

Current Cannabis Bylaws

On Monday night Council had an eventful meeting… The big business of the night was cannabis. 12 delegations presented their views. It was a diverse group which included potential retailers and producers, citizens supportive to a liberal approach to legalization, citizens asking for a cautious approach, and citizens adamantly opposed to legalization. Then Council got into bylaw debate- all four bylaws before us were passed.