Welcome to City Council Highlights, a concise digest of newsworthy decisions and issues from City Council meetings.
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Most Recent Council Meeting
- A plan for safe, secure and affordable housing in the City of Lethbridge has been given a unanimous green light by City Council. The implementation of the Municipal Housing Strategy will see work started shortly with work on developing partnerships and advocacy one of the first action items to be tackled.
- City Council voted unanimously to postpone a surcharge on
Construction & Demolition (C&D) materials until March 2020
allowing for additional time for BILD Lethbridge Region to design
and implement their Subdivision Recycling Depot Program.
- Unanimous approval for funding for the 2019 – 2022
Lethbridge Land Work Plan and Project Expenditures was given by City Council. Further to the approval, Lethbridge Land must be financially
transparent and responsible and a project variance between
the approved work plan expenditures and the actual
expenditures be presented to City Council.
- City Manager, Bram Strain, confirmed at the inquiry of Councillor Belinda Crowson, that all Lethbridge Transit would be free to help people get to the polls on October 21 for the Federal Election.
- Trevor Lewington, CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge gave a presentation on the Municipal Government (Property Tax Incentives) Amendment Act, 2019 - Bill 7 and the impact of the Bill. Administration and Economic Development Lethbridge have
conducted a review of current practices, including key drivers,
existing programs and other considerations. Many of the incentives are focused on redevelopment objectives including
downtowns, commercial corridors, and existing neighborhoods.
- City Council voted unanimously in favour of passing an official business resolution brought forward by Mayor Chris Spearman to adopt the traditional Blackfoot greeting, Oki, as the official greet of the City of Lethbridge. Further to the adoption of Oki as the official greeting, City Council instructed administration to prepare a submission to the next Capital Improvement Program to identify opportunities to incorporate Blackfoot and where appropriate other Indigenous languages within City facilities, parks and neighbourhoods for Council's consideration.
- City Council also unanimously approved a one-time proclamation of October 4 this year being named Sisters in Spirit Day. Sisters in Spirit is a movement which honours the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, supports grieving families, provides opportunities for healing and is a movement for social change encouraging education and understanding related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirited Persons.
- A compensation disclosure list will now be part of the annual report for the City of Lethbridge. City Council voted to have the position titles, salary ranges and information on pensions and benefits for all employment positions and elected officials publicly available.
- A City Council voted 6 - 2 to instruct Administration to hire a qualified researcher to use existing data and literature to develop a Discussion Paper on addiction, substance abuse and SCS trends locally with an overview of intervention options for the Provincial and Federal Governments. The paper is to be provided to City Council prior or on March 31, 2020.
- Director of Treasury and Financial Service, Hailey Pinksen, reported to City Council with a forecast of the operating budget
variance for 2019 based on operations to June 30, 2019.
- City Council accepted reports on Community Consultations regarding the Supervised Consumption Site as information. The report involved information from three public engagement sessions and 16 community partners.
- A resolution to look at ways to reduce street fighting was approved by City Council with administration to report back with options by the November 12 meeting.
- City Council postponed a resolution to instruct the City Manager to report back with findings regarding what studies have been done on the root causes for addiction in Lethbridge and the surrounding region.
- Cyndi Vos, Executive Officer of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce presented to City Council on the Chamber's commitment to addressing the drug crisis in Lethbridge. The Chamber created a policy titled, The Economics of Addiction, which encourages the provincial government to reconsider the need for a comprehensive detoxification facility as well as supportive housing in the city.
- City Council approved updated safety measures to the pedestrian crossing located on 6th Ave south and 12 St south. The update comes as a result of a recently completed functional planning study and safety audit and will see rapid flashing amber lights installed instead of the green, yellow, red lights which currently exist.
- Administration provided an update on the proposed Citizen Town Hall which was approved at the August 6 meeting. The proposed date of the town hall will be in early October and take place at the Enmax Centre with a budget and funding source to come forward at the next City Council meeting on September 3.
- The approved Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) resolution will see a letter written from the Mayor's office go out to the Solicitor General of Alberta requesting a permanent SCAN presence in the city.
- The approved Safely Reporting Drug Activity in Lethbridge resolution discussed the use of the public safety contact sheet being made widely available and the use of southern Alberta Crime Stoppers to report illegal activity.
- City Council also voted 6 – 2 in favour of exploring options to tackle illicit drugs in the community on a case-by-case basis. The resolution proposed the creation of an illicit drug use task force modeled on those in cities like Vancouver and Winnipeg. Administration is to report back to Council on October 15 with a proposed terms of reference, budget and funding source.
- After a lengthy and passionate debate, City Council voted against a resolution concerning the Supervised Consumption Site (SCS). The resolution which was brought forward by Councillor Hyggen and co-sponsored by Councillors Mauro and Parker proposed to request the provincial government to freeze funding on the SCS until the provincial review of Supervised Consumption Sites had been completed and to request the distribution of needles cease. The resolution was defeated 6 – 3 with Mayor Spearman, Councillors Campbell, Crowson, Carlson, Coffman and Miyarshiro voting against.
- City Council unanimously approved the commissioning of a piece of public art work for the Lethbridge Public Library in support the goals of Piitoyiss/Eagles’ Nest to create opportunities
for dialogue and discovery among indigenous and nonindigenous communities. The project will celebrate and promote
inclusiveness and accessibility. The art work was awarded to renowned Blackfoot artist, Faye HeavyShield and will be entitled Awaaniiyaawa | They Are Speaking. The funding awarded to the piece is $65,000.00 and will come from the Public Art fund.
- The Adaptive Reuse Policy with the open submission option was approved by Council after some revisions were made on the recommendation of Councillor Crowson. The policy will provide a 50 per cent matching grant program to upgrade or adapt
existing buildings that have deteriorated, are deteriorating,
and/or are functionally compromised. City Council has now directed administration to work on the implementation of this policy.
- City Council approved an Official Business Resolution proposed by Councillor Hyggen to instruct administration to organize a Town Hall public meeting to discuss the substance abuse and associated issues in the city. Administration is to report back with a date and venue to City Council at the next regular meeting on August 19.
- A Notice of Motion was read regarding an upcoming motion being brought forward by Councillor Hyggen to discuss the Supervised Consumption Site operations. The motion will be brought forward at the next regular meeting on August 19.
- City Council voted unanimously to approve the lease renewal and fee-for-service agreement with the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association for the term of 2019 – 2022.
- The Adaptive Reuse Incentive policy came back before Council after Cllr. Crowson asked to review the policy further during the last regular Council meeting. Council voted to direct administration to make suggested recommendations to the policy based on Cllr. Crowson's research. The policy will come back to City Council on August 6.
- The regular City Council meeting on August 6 will start at 2:30 p.m. instead of the regular 1:30 p.m. after Council voted to amend the start time due to a Community Issues Committee meeting taking place prior to the regular meeting on the same day.
- City Council voted to accept a presentation on the Downtown Enforcement Project from Lethbridge Police Service as information. Sgt. Robin Klassen from the Downtown Policing Unit and Acting Inspector Pete Christos presented a summary of work to date which has focused on tackling crime in the downtown area and drug houses in the city.
- City Council and the Lethbridge Police Commission were notified that Rob Davis has resigned as Lethbridge Police Chief to pursue a new position as Police Chief in Brantford, Ontario, Davis' home province.
- Council approved the Highway 3 Twinning Development Association annual membership fee in the amount of $7,500.00 to be funded from Council Contingencies.
- Council approved the location of the monument to the Sisters of St. Martha. It is to be located on City Hall grounds on the Stafford Drive side of building.
- City Council voted to receive a report from the City Treasurer on Taxation and Assessment as information. The presentation gave an overview of the process of property taxes at the City and broke down how mill rates are calculated along with the timelines associated with property taxes.
- City Council voted to approve funding to immediately upgrade a number of infrastructure items at the airport as the City gets ready to take over operations from the County on July 1. The renovation design list at the airport includes increasing the size of the pre-boarding area, upgrades to make the current washrooms accessible and the addition of accessible washrooms in the secure-hold area, parking upgrades, water service updates and furnishing modernization. The total estimated cost for the design of the phased upgrades is approximately $700,000.00 and will be funded through the Pay-as-You-Go Community program.
- The 2019 Census results have been finalized and the total population of the city is 101,482. This shows a population growth of 1.72 per cent, an increase of 1,713 people since the last Census data was collected in 2018.
- Emergency Management bylaw 6179 was given a second and third reading and was approved by City Council. The amendements to the bylaw bring it in line with the provincial bylaw. Some of the changes include adding new committees which will enable swifter decisions to be made in a crisis situation and the ability for the Director of Emergency Management to delegate their authority to someone who may be better equiped to deal with a particular situation or crisis.
- City Council voted in favour of the demolition of the former YMCA building on Stafford Drive. Building inspection reports show the former YMCA Stafford Drive location to be in poor condition and in need of significant improvements. The estimated cost to repurpose the building and bring it up to current code is more than $6 million dollars and would attract an ongoing annual operating cost of more than $400,000 a year. The total estimated cost of demolition and redevelopment of the site in accordance with the Civic Common Master Plan is $1.35 million dollars.
- Coalition for an Inclusive Lethbridge (CIL), formally known as Coalition of Municipalities Against Racism and Discrimination (CMARD) had their new community-based model of operation approved along with their four-year budget ask of $18, 835.
- City Council voted to approve the Outline Plan Approval Process resolution which will allow City Council to have input at the initial stage of the Outline Plan Process and approval would still be retained by the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC). Bylaw 5801 will also be amended to reflect this change.
- Approval was given to four resolutions which will now move forward to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) for consideration. Council voted unanimously to increase the threshold levels of recycled content in plastic bags to a minimum of 15 per cent by 2023. Unanimous approval was also given to the resolution to request the federal government to eliminate or regionally apply the mortgage "stress test" and to urge the province to look at developing a province-wide drug strategy to combat the opioid crisis. The fourth resolution outlined support for the Town of Olds in their efforts to create a presumed consent program for human organ and tissue donation.
- Council voted to appoint Paul Davis and Anthony Parker to the Combative Sports Commission, effective immediately, for a term expiring on December 31, 2019.
- The Lethbridge Airport Master Plan was approved by Council along with the Lethbridge Airport 2019 operating budget, the Airport Committee's terms of reference and that the Airport Transition Steering Committee be dissolved and thanked for their service.
- Municipal Historic Resource designation was approved for the Bank of Montreal building located at 522, 3 Avenue South.
- The Lethbridge Public Library presented their annual report to Council. Highlights included the more than 650 thousand people who walked through the doors, and almost 20 thousand new items added to the Library's collection, bringing the total number to 221,084 items available to borrow. The organization was also recognized by numerous awards including the Downtown Event of the Year for The Word on the Street Festival, Allied Arts Council Excellence Award for Service Organization and the Lethbridge Pride Award for non-profit community organization.
- The downtown core continues to see new development and investment as City Council passed a resolution to approve a municipal tax cancellation incentive for a major redevelopment. The municipal tax cancellation incentive is based on the incremental change in assessment resulting from new construction or major renovation and proposed projects must meet a number of criteria to be considered. The development at 608 5 Avenue South was approved for a 7-year incentive period with an estimated tax cancellation of $680,000.00.
- City Council approved a project plan for a new Municipal Development Plan review. The review being proposed is due to several factors including the City reaching the 100,000 population mark, the airport acquisition and the current plan being eight years old. The review will ensure the vision and policies of the MDP continue to be relevant, in their ability to help achieve our community vision.
- Building Industry and Land Development Industry Association (BILD) presented a report on the federal mortgage "stress test" which showed Lethbridge has felt the effects of the nation-wide program. City Council voted to receive BILD's presentation as information and the Mayor to write to the provincial government to advocate for the development of policies that allow Alberta regulated financial institutions like ATB Financial and credit unions, to implement lending practices based on regional economic conditions and not those of the federal "stress test".
- Visitors from more than 14 countries have attended events in the City thanks to the Major Event Hosting Grant according to the report presented to Council on Monday by Recreation & Culture Development. The report outlined more than 12 events that have received funding since the program's inception in 2016. The Tour of Alberta, Southern Alberta Summer Games, The University of Lethbridge Shine On Festival and the 2019 World Men's Curling Championships are just some of the events that received funding from the grant program.
- More than 45,000 visited the Galt Museum and Archives over the last year according to their annual report. The organization presented their annual report for information to Council on Monday which included information on how many people accessed their education and programming.
- Critical infrastructure improvements, a Civic Common Master Plan and the Clean and Safe Strategy were among the positive signs that downtown Lethbridge has seen emerge over the past year according to a City of Lethbridge committee. The Heart of Our City Committee presented their annual report to City Council on Monday which outlined some of the challenges faced by the downtown over the last 12 months. The report also focused on the successful implementation of strategies and programs that have led to positive signs for the future for the core of the community.
- A new monument will be appearing in Henderson Park which honours the work of a local group. The Sons of Norway, a Norwegian cultural organization, received approval from Council to install a large limestone rock with a bronze plaque in the south side park.
- The Lethbridge United Services Institute presented a request for a letter of support and a funding request for a monument in recognition of the military contributions by veterans from Lethbridge and southern Alberta. Council voted to accept the Lethbridge United Services Institute presentation as information and write a letter in support of a provincial grant.
- The Municipal Housing Task Force presented to Council with their strategy to address the need for housing within Lethbridge. The strategy will allow the City to leverage and allocate resources to projects that meet the needs of priority groups while aligning itself with the National and Provincial Housing Strategies. Council voted unanimously to accept the report as information and directed Administration to present an implementation plan for the housing strategy to Council no later than September 30 this year.
- Council approved request from the Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Society for Major Community Event Hosting Grant in the amount of $47,500 to support their 50th anniversary celebration. The proposed event will take place in July and coincide with the group's AGM and feature an Indian Relay Race and Pow Wow.
- The Sisters of St. Martha will be permanently recognized for their contribution to Lethbridge after Council voted 7-1 to erect a monument or suitable recognition to a maximum of $15,000.
- The Lethbridge Tennis Club's lease was renewed for a 10-year term after Council voted to approve the renewal at a cost of $25 a year plus additional rent for applicable power usage.
April 1, 2019
- The Lethbridge Airport will be added to the City's directory as a business unit come summertime this year. City Council passed a resolution on Monday to assume the operations of the airport until a commission or airport authority has been finalized
- Nearly one year after the Humboldt Broncos tragedy shook the entire nation, Lethbridge City Council unanimously approved a name change today to see Logan Boulet's legacy become a permanent part of our city's history. City Administration will work to make the name change on Adams Park Ice Centre in preparation for next hockey season, where hockey players, skaters and fans both young and old will have a chance to visit this newly named facility.
- City Council voted 8-1 to officially proclaim April 7 Green Shirt Day in honour of Logan Boulet. The Logan Boulet Effect is now synonymous with organ donation in Canada. Prior to his passing, Boulet had made the decision to become an organ donor. His decision to be a donor would see six people benefit from this selfless action and one that would inspire more than 100,000 Canadians to register as organ donors in the weeks following the Humboldt bus crash.
- City Council gave the first, second and third reading of the amendment to Bylaw 6129 and voted 7-1 to approve the amendment. The developers of the historic Bentley Block downtown, can now proceed with the removal of a brick parapet in order to move forward with their development.
March 18, 2019
- The City of Lethbridge was recognized at the Consulting Engineers of Alberta Awards gala recently for the work on the North Lateral Realignment System project which allowed Cavendish Farms to move forward with the construction of their new facility
- The City and the WHL Hurricanes continue their thriving partnership after successfully reviewing the lease agreement of the hockey team's home ice arena
- City Council received the survey results from the Citizens Society Research lab regarding urban hen keeping. 882 residents were surveyed with close to 60 per cent saying they oppose the urban hen proposal
- The Recreation and Culture Fee Assistance Program gave their annual update to City Council. The program has been recognized as best practice among Canadian municipalities for its inclusion of arts & culture & equipment. More than 1500 registration approvals were awarded last year with users ranging in age from newborn to 84 years of age. More than 60 local organizations were accessed through this program
March 4, 2019
- City Council passed a resolution on Monday to approve the commissioning of a public art project which will see the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame (LSHOF) permanently installed at the ATB Centre. The project, which was designed by University of Lethbridge alumnus Collin Zipp, showcases the inductees on a grand scale.
- City Council received the Lethbridge Combative Sports Commission's (LCSC) annual report as information. During 2018, the LCSC moved forward with several updates, revisions and improvements. These included changes in the areas of operations, fighter safety and medical documentation.
- The lease between the City of Lethbridge and the Henderson Lake Golf Club has been renewed for another 25-year term. Council approved the lease agreement with the club who it has supported since 1973.
- The Lethbridge Senior Citizen's Organization (LSCO) will continue to provide cleaning services for seniors living independently. City Council approved a request from the Community Social Development Committee to reallocate funding that was previously awarded to CBI Home Health who have since discontinued this service.
- City Council unanimously passed a resolution to support Grande Prairie in their efforts to apply for grant funding to combat the opioid crisis in Alberta. If the grant is approved, the coordinated municipal project would share information between municipalities on best practices to address the crisis.
- The old Bank of Montreal building on 3 Ave South has been given the green light to be designated a Municipal Historic Resource. City Council unanimously approved a resolution which would see the iconic building protected and conserved under the Historical Resources Act, providing the owners have no objections.
- The first remote attendance of a City Councillor at City Council meeting was piloted with Councillor Jeff Coffman phoning in for the duration of the meeting. Once processes and procedures of remote attendance have been approved, it may become an option for City Councillors who are unable to physically attend meetings.
February 4, 2019
- City Council unanimously approved the donation of two Access-A-Ride buses to the Los Amigos Project to service urban and rural centres in Mexico. This is the seventh year the project has delivered decommissioned community support vehicles from Lethbridge to Mexican communities in need.
- City Council unanimously passed a resolution to immediately respond to an urban drilling site within city limits. The resolution outlined that the Mayor and City Manager will respond to Tamarack Acquisitions Corp. through the Alberta Energy Regulator to make their opposition and concerns known. Further to this, the Mayor and City Manager will also write to the Honourable Margaret Ellen McCuaig-Boyd, Alberta Minister of Energy, to advise her of Council's position.
January 21, 2019
- City Manager, Bram Strain, presented an action plan to review all City operations over the next three years. City Council heard the review will look at process structures, outcomes and expectations of the organization and its stakeholders along with industry standards and best practices.
- City Council heard recommendations for improvements to Whoop-Up Drive interchanges based on the recently completed Interchange Functional Planning Study. The study includes traffic analysis, concept improvement options, cost estimates and recommendations after two years of research and public consultation.
- City Council approved Social Housing in Action Committee's (SHIA) proposed new service delivery plan to address homelessness in the city. The new plan was a result of significant research and stakeholder engagement and was developed to ensure minimal disruption to those it benefits, while streamlining services.
- City Council unanimously approved a resolution to direct the City Manager to identify and implement ways in which the City of Lethbridge and the Southern Alberta Crime Stoppers can partner showing mutual support in joint efforts to reduce crime in our city.
Previous City Council Meetings
January 7, 2019
City Council approved $12,000 in FCSS temporary funding to be allocated to Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization (LSCO) to continue to provide cleaning services for seniors living independently, as cleaning services have ended as of December 31, 2018 due to the current service provider not wanting to continue to provide this service.
City Council approved a 1% wage increase for City of Lethbridge administration (non-union) employees effective January 2, 2019.
The renewal agreement between the City of Lethbridge and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 955 was ratified for January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019. Wages: January 1, 2019: 1%, January 1, 2020: 1.5%, January 1, 2021: 1.5% and January 1, 2022: 2%.
December 10, 2018
City Council gave final approval to a new four-year operating budget, which addresses several strategic priorities while building in financial accountability and limiting the tax impact on residents. The new budget includes an average increase to the municipal portion of residential property tax of 1.82 % annually for the next 4 years. The increase works out to an average of $3.50/month ($42/year) on an average single-family residential home with an assessed value of $267,300. Read the news release here.
The Collective Agreement between CUPE Local 70 and the City of Lethbridge was ratified for Jan 1, 2019 to Dec 31, 2022. Wages: Jan 1, 2019: 1%, Jan 1, 2020: 1.5 %, Jan 1, 2021: 1.5 %, Jan 1, 2022: 2 % and a signing bonus of $200 per permanent member.
November 26, 2018
- City Council postpones budget approval until December 10, 2018 to allow City Council members to reconsider the entire budget, and the Draft Operating Budget was referred to the December 3, 2018 Finance Committee Meeting.
- City of Lethbridge to initiate negotiations of revised terms of their agreement with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, including potential displacement compensation for a portion of the 2019 WHL playoffs because of the World Men's Curling Championships.
November 13, 2018
- Council votes to consult public on urban hen question
October 29, 2018
- Transit seeking grants that would fund purchase of seven electric buses
- Historic designation approved for downtown Bentley Block
October 15, 2018
- Civic Common Master Plan presented to City Council
- Council supports adoption of Lethbridge Play Charter
- Community consultations continue for Municipal Housing Strategy
October 1, 2018
- Two downtown blocks to be temporarily renamed Veterans' Avenue during Remembrance Week Nov. 5-11
- Council ratifies 4-year agreement with fire/EMS and emergency dispatch employees
September 17, 2018
- In response to request, administration to explore feasibility of a pilot project for backyard hens in the city
- Admin to mitigation options following New West Theatre request for waiver of theatre rental fee due to Yates renovations
- $2M added to water treatment plant project budget after tenders come in over budget amid tariff uncertainty
- Yates renewal project receives additional $560K to cover unexpected costs
September 4, 2018
- Public art commissioned for downtown site
- Positive mid-year financial forecast
- Update re: community response to drug crisis
August 20, 2018
- Council backs Lethbridge bid to host 2020 Memorial Cup
August 7, 2018
- Council seeks community collaboration for solutions, action to address drug crisis issues
July 23, 2018
- Council briefed on new, program-based approach to upcoming Operating Budget
- Proposed resolution to direct ARCHES to end clean need distribution is defeated by 5-4 vote
July 19, 2018 - Special Joint Meeting of City & County Councils
- City of Lethbridge assumes ownership of the Lethbridge Airport
July 16, 2018 - Special Meeting of City Council
- City Council welcomes Bramwell (Bram) Strain as new city manager
July 9, 2018
- Council approves adding $2.9 million to capital budget for Transit Terminal construction project
June 25, 2018
- 2018 census shows Lethbridge population inching closer to 100,000
- Bylaw change sets out where retail cannabis stores can be located
- Initial cost-neutral Transit routing strategy changes approved
- Reconciliation advisory committee receives initial funding
- Council advocates for introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility in Alberta
June 11, 2018
- Community meeting to be held to explore ways to reduce needle debris associated with drug crisis
- Non-profit groups awarded grants for community projects
- Advisory committee to champion Reconciliation Implementation Plan
May 28, 2018
- Governance review, improved transit, housing strategy, airport revitalization highlight Council's goals this term
- Task force to develop municipal housing strategy
- Provincial funding allocated to enhance Clean Sweep & Mobile Outreach services
May 14, 2018
- Proposed text amendment to Land Use Bylaw introduced regarding retail cannabis stores
April 30, 2018
- Planning Begins for Future of Lethbridge Airport
- Road Maintenance Tax Change
April 16, 2018
- Council approves request for $160K toward hosting 2020 Canada Wide Science Fair
- Council considers community meeting on local implications of cannabis legalization
April 3, 2018
- Funding approved for ARCHES to continue needle pickup hotline service through end of 2018
- Council receives report on campaign spending disclosure for 2017 municipal election
March 19, 2018
- Public art approved for ATB Centre-Phase 2
- Council receives positive 2017 year-end financial report
March 16, 2018
- City and County reach agreement to transfer ownership of Lethbridge Airport
March 5, 2018
- ATB Centre-Phase 2 construction on budget & on time for Spring 2019 opening
February 20, 2018
- City signs on to updated emergency services mutual aid agreement
- City entering federal Smart Cities Challenge to win up to $10 million
- Council briefed on development of brand strategy for Lethbridge
- Implementation strategy to be developed for enhancements to transit system
January 22, 2018
- Council receives update on upcoming Phase 1 launch of curbside recycling
- Latest benchmarking report assesses road services
- London Road Area Redevelopment Plan approved
January 8, 2018
- Council backs local bid to host 2020 Alberta Summer Games
- Council approves allocation of available FCSS funding