Welcome, Lethbridge, to the first Mayor's column of 2023.
I pen this monthly feature on behalf of Lethbridge City Council in order to help provide an overview of some of the major events going on in the city, to keep people informed on matters of importance in the community and to Council, as well as to highlight achievements by members of our community.
Amid the challenges we face in Lethbridge, I also really try to use this space to focus on the positive pieces and the good news stories we have in the wonderful city we all call home.
One of the first big events of the year took place on Thursday morning, as the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce hosted about 200 people for the 2023 Mayor's State of the City address.
Here are some of my opening remarks to the audience:
"It's been 15 months since myself and Councillors Mark Campbell, Jeff Carlson, Belinda Crowson, Rajko Dodic, John Middleton-Hope, Nick Paladino, Ryan Parker and Jenn Schmidt-Rempel took our oath of office and formed the current Lethbridge City Council. It's been a great honour and privilege for all of us to serve Lethbridge residents.
Council will continue to work with our local elected representatives – MP Rachael Thomas, MLAs Shannon Phillips and Nathan Neudorf – and the other orders of government for the collective goal of creating a better Lethbridge and to advocate for the resources and funding our city needs to address key issues. We will push to further secure and advance our business sector's needs, so we can be the first place investors and businesses come when they look to open new doors and new ventures.
Between City Council, City Administration and all of the hard-working departments in the corporation, there were some challenges in 2022 and here into 2023. I'll talk about physician recruitment efforts, community safety – plus the City's budget and taxes. There are also plenty of good news stories for the City of Lethbridge. I'll discuss results of the 2022 Community Satisfaction survey, which shows that 90 per cent of respondents rank their quality of life in Lethbridge as good or very good. I'll talk about the airport, Festival Square, our wonderful community and regional partners – as well as the Intergovernmental Health Table, the Clean Energy Program and the City's upcoming new website and customer portal."
The presentation focused on six different sections: City Council's 2022 Gateway to Opportunity Action Plan, our Top Priorities and Issues, Major Projects and Events, Major Community and Regional Partners, City of Lethbridge Finances, plus Next Steps for 2023 and beyond. The full presentation and web links will be soon available on the City's website and Shaw Lethbridge will also have the video on broadcast and on its YouTube page.
The first Lethbridge City Council meeting of 2023 will take place next week. See the agenda here.
I'd like to also remind people of how they can participate and view our City Council meetings, as well as the Standing Policy Committee meetings. The entire meeting schedule for 2023 is posted on the City's website and each meeting's individual agenda will be published a week before.
City Council meets regularly to discuss issues, set priorities, establish policy and make decisions based on information from many groups and residents, as well as City department managers and staff. The information is most often provided to Council in the form of presentations or written submissions.
Council meetings are held every other week on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. at Council Chamber inside Lethbridge City Hall. They are open to the public and consist of Council listening to presentations, asking questions, reviewing reports or written submissions and considering recommendations contained within them.
This is done through a process of information sharing, inquiry, deliberation and voting. Each member of Council has an equal vote in the decision-making process. In order for a resolution to be approved, a majority of Council members in attendance at a Council meeting must vote in favour of it. For example, if all nine Council members are present, a resolution needs at least five votes in favour in order to be approved.
Presentations, Submissions and Reports are provided in advance with the Council meeting agenda. As needed, subject matter experts or managers from City departments attend Council meetings to present information and answer questions from Council. The City Manager and the Executive Leadership Team attend all City Council meetings.
Council's Standing Policy Committee model allows our local government to look at issues in the City through a more focused lens, allowing for more thorough deliberation on the part of our City Council. Existing Boards, Commissions and Committees report their work and status updates to the Standing Policy Committees based on a Reporting Structure.
Ongoing, permanent committees – Audit, Community Safety, Cultural and Social, Economic and Governance – report to City Council and have other Boards, Commissions and Committees reporting directly to them. More information here.
The SPC meetings are also open to the public and we encourage residents to attend and register to speak. Those interested on speaking to a topic can contact the City Clerk's Office to request the following: Make a presentation at the meeting or to send a Recorded Voice presentation. The Committee may also invite external experts to present information on a topic before them. For information on participation, contact email@example.com.
All City Council meetings and SPC meetings are livestreamed on the City of Lethbridge YouTube channel here.
On behalf of City Council, I'd like to extend a very big Oki and welcome to CBC Lethbridge, which this week opened a new permanent bureau in our city with a two-day event in conjunction with the Lethbridge Public Library. We look forward to adding them to as another media resource in the city.
I recently attended a Rotary luncheon and had the chance to speak with someone who has moved here from Ukraine. One of her biggest surprises coming to Lethbridge, she says, is how friendly we are and how she is always greeted with a smile. I think we can all take a lesson from her perspective and optimism.
As always, be safe and kind to one another.