Town of Peace River passes operating and capital budgets; not ready to make a decision on tax rate

The Town of Peace River has its financial blueprints for the year.

Council approved the capital and operating budgets at Monday’s council meeting.

The operating budget calls for $26,750,810 in total expenditures for the town.

The document says the budget factored in growth pressures and inflation, to go along with costs, such as repairs and fuel, which according to the town, have surpassed inflation.

Mayor Tom Tarpey says the budget also looks into projects, once the COVID-19 pandemic passes.

“We want to put people back to work,” says Tarpey. “There are a number of capital projects in there we would like to do. A lot of these projects are done by local people and that will keep money in the local economy.”

The budget will need an extra $371,360 or 3.3 in taxation revenue to make up for a shortfall.

While staff suggested a rate increase, council was not ready to pass a tax bylaw this week.

“We are asking administrative staff to come back and see what we can do to minimize the impact of any property taxes on our community,” explains Tarpey.

Tarpey adds some of the shortfall comes from a change in how the provincial government pays its property taxes.

“What the provincial government does is they give a grant in-lieu for all the properties they own and operate in the town,” points out Tarpey.

“They are relaying on the fact the crown can do no wrong and they are cutting back on their fair share of property taxes, so to speak so we have to cover that off.”

Priorities identified by council for the budget include:

  • Completion of funding for operating the Baytex Energy Centre,
  • Two seasonal labour positions to assist with public works
  • Money for a ladder truck for the fire department
  • Maintaining library funding, and
  • Sponsorship funding for the Peace River and District Chamber of Commerce.

The capital budget covers items such as protective services and public works as well.

Click here to see a snapshot of the approved budget.

– Kenny Trenton, Trending 55 Newsroom