Red Deerians should not see a hike in municipal taxes due to the 2022 provincial budget, says Mayor Ken Johnston.
Red Deer receives funding through several provincial revenues sources each year, and the city said that the budget shows they will remain stable so there will be no impact to the city’s current capital or operating budgets.
“At this point in time the provincial budget doesn’t have an impact on our taxes. We were very pleased to see that our education requisition was stable,” said Mayor Ken Johnston on Friday.
“We didn’t see any surprises in this budget and are happy to say that the provincial revenue we rely on for everyday services to our citizens are maintained.”
City council will pass a tax rate bylaw in April that includes the education requisition, the requisition for the senior’s lodge program and the property tax requirement approved by council in November 2021 at zero per cent for the municipal operating budget.
In addition to the main funding streams remaining stable, the city was encouraged to see investments in post-secondary education, housing, and health care including mental health which have the potential to have a positive impact on the community and residents.
The city will continue to review the budget over the next several weeks to fully appreciate the impacts to the community.
It’s been seven years since Alberta’s last balanced budget, and on Thursday the provincial budget forecast revenues of $62.6 billion, and expenses of $62.1 billion.
The province has said while rising revenues from oil and gas are the prime motivator for the recovery, belt-tightening and a diversified economy also played a significant role.
Johnston said the skills training and retraining programs included in the budget will prepare Red Deer and region participate in diversification, which is a focus for city council.
“We’re very encouraged that our community continues in that direction.”
Ahead of the budget, Premier Jason Kenney announced $1.8 billion for Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre expansion.
Johnston said investment in the hospital speaks to the city’s role in providing regional services and in building economic growth.
“It quite simply is, the only word I can say, is monumental,” he said about the long awaited hospital funding.
“I’m still on a hospital high after the last 48 hours. I’m coming down to earth a bit right now. But it’s a wonderful feeling.”
— With files from The Canadian Press