City budget gets thumbs up from Chamber

City council’s budget was right for our economic times, says the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce.

City council’s budget was right for our economic times, says the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce.

“With the economy how it is, with the low dollar and people paying more for groceries, a big tax increase was the last thing that most people needed,” said Reg Warkentin, chamber policy co-ordinator.

“It was really good to see the progress council made in getting that rate lower.

“I think they did a great job at finding those savings.”

Council spent more than six days crunching budget numbers before settling on a 2.9 per cent increase, whittled down from almost 3.8 per cent at one point.

The tax rate increase means the owner of a $325,000 home would pay $1,985.97 in municipal taxes, up $55.97 from last year’s bill.

Warkentin said the chamber was encouraged that the city kept tax increases relatively low without sacrificing continuing investment in the city.

“We need to continue to invest and make sure Red Deer is a place where people want to live and people want to work and businesses want to set up shop.”

Previous city councils have kept the tax rates competitive with other municipalities. Those rates are determined in the spring (when the school tax requisition is known) and the chamber hopes to see that trend continue.

“Generally speaking we want to see any increase in government spending closely correlated to population growth and inflation. From what I’m seeing this budget looks like it’s right in line with that target.”

Red Deer Public Library felt the impact of some of council’s tough budget decisions.

Only three of the library’s six requests were approved. A $108,000 request to help pay for more staff hours at the Timberlands branch, $90,000 for a new information technology specialist and a $50,000 publicity campaign didn’t make the cut.

Library CEO Christina Wilson said while she’s disappointed not everything made the cut, what council did approve is important to the library.

Council approved a staff wage boost totalling $101,250, and $20,000 for safety training and security to help staff respond safely to some of the disruptive visitors the downtown branch sometimes faces.

A small but important request to boost by $10,000 the money the library puts towards online resources was also approved.

“That’s a very significant thing for us,” said Wilson. “It’s important because the way are collecting is shifting is towards more and more online resources.”

The library was facing a “double whammy” because higher rates kicked in for some online resources based on per capita when the city’s population topped 100,000. As well, since many providers are U.S.-based, the sinking Canadian dollar means higher costs for the library to maintain what they have.

“This is very timely money for us, and the great thing is it is ongoing.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.coma

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canopy Growth Corp. will deepen its U.S. presence by launching four sparkling cannabidiol waters, shown in a handout photo, there before possible federal legalization. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canopy Growth
Canopy Growth launches first CBD drinks in U.S. as legalization talk intensifies

Quatreau sparkling waters will be sold through e-commerce

A nurse assistant prepares a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 during a priority vaccination program for health workers at a community medical center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Andre Penner
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 needs better promotion: experts

National Advisory Committee on Immunization makes recommendations

A man receives his COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at Olympic Stadium marking the beginning of mass vaccination in the Province of Quebec based on age in Montreal, on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Most Canadians confident federal vaccine rollout is back on track: poll

Fifty-six per cent of respondents confident in vaccine supply

Air Transat and Air Canada aircraft are seen on the tarmac at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
International air travel a fraction of pre-pandemic times

International air travel during pandemic less than a 10th of what it was before COVID-19

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2020, file photo, former NBA player Shaquille O’ Neal is interviewed on the red carpet for Shaq’s Fun House in Miami. O’Neal is set to perform in his first competitive match when he teams in All Elite Wrestling with Jade Cargill in a mixed tag to take on Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet at Daily’s Place on an episode of “Dynamite,” Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Shaq Attack: O’Neal ready to rumble in tag match for AEW

O’Neal’s first competitive match with All Elite Wrestling

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, center, speaks during a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting in Tokyo, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, Pool)
Tokyo Olympics add 12 women to executive board to reach 42 per cent

Board will now have 19 women among its 45 members

The Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre is shown in Stratford, Ont., on May 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins
Stratford Festival plans next stages with two outdoor summer venues

Ontario festival productions set for between late June and the end of September

Treena Mielke
From record player to CD

When I first began dating my husband, he drove a little old… Continue reading

Opinion
Ottawa banks on Big Pharma making Canada pandemic-proof

Liberal fireball François-Philippe Champagne may be brand new to his portfolio as… Continue reading

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones
Health: Keep blood pressure under control

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the things you think you… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) reach for the rebound from Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) during second-period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday, March 1, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Most Read