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Chamber advocates City to freeze spending

Letter sent to Red Deer City council to ask for no increase to taxes due to weak economy

Prior to the Christmas break, the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Mayor Veer and Council advocating they pass an Operating Budget requiring no increase to taxes citing the weak economy and struggling businesses as the rationale.

“With oil prices in the tank and very little drilling activity planned, we’re extremely concerned about the economic prospects in store for 2019. Many of our members are struggling to deal with a number of cost increases imposed by our provincial and federal governments, the last thing families and businesses in Red Deer need is yet another,” said Rick More, Chamber CEO. “As households and businesses have had no choice but to pare back their spending, so should our municipal government. We believe this is a great opportunity for this Council to demonstrate leadership during this tough economic time and take measured proactive steps to alleviate the financial strain facing countless Red Deerian families and businesses.”

The Chamber believes that it is well within Council’s capability to pass a $364 million budget while maintaining service levels and recommended the city explore opportunities to outsource services, freeze wages and hiring of non-essential personnel, find efficiencies, and adopt more competitive regulatory and licensing fees. “We’re fully behind the city’s efforts to address community safety. However and given the circumstances we’re facing it’s incumbent upon our elected officials and municipal leaders to make some tough decisions and reprioritize spending.”

“It’s a regular and unpleasant experience for our members to share with us the financial hardships they’re facing in this economy,” continued More. “They unfortunately cannot just increase their prices as the city increases taxes so even just a ‘modest’ increase to their tax bill can be the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back.”

The Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce is a non-partisan, collaborative leader in building a vibrant community and fosters an environment where businesses can lead, be innovative, sustainable, and grow.

-Submitted by the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce

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