City Council members kicked off operating budget deliberations today by unanimously approving a resolution instructing Administration to conduct an independent fiscal performance review of all City operations over the next three years.
Meeting as Finance Committee, Council members directed the City Manager to launch a series of reviews to examine City programs, services, service-delivery models and service levels, taking into consideration the financial as well as the economic value to the community. A plan identifying a review schedule and areas of focus is to be submitted to Council this January.
"As Council, we are seeking a frank, objective assessment of the strengths, efficiencies and opportunities for improvement that exist throughout the organization," says Deputy Mayor Ryan Parker, who is chairing Finance Committee's operating budget deliberations this week. "As we begin budget deliberations, now is the right time to be taking an in-depth look at City operations."
"As we reach 100,000 population in Lethbridge, it is more important than ever that we plan and budget in the best possible way," says Councillor Jeff Carlson. "This resolution ensures that we will be positioning our City very well for future success."
Through a competitive process, an independent third party will be selected to build on benchmarking work already completed to date as well as lessons learned in other jurisdictions. Council also directed that they receive regular updates to stay current on progress, decision points and implementation timelines.
"We want to improve Lethbridge's standing in the province when it comes to the level of residential property taxation. The results of this review will help us make thoughtful, fact based decisions that will get more value out of every tax dollar for residents of our city," says Mayor Chris Spearman.
Finance Committee meetings are scheduled daily this week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to develop a four-year operating budget. Once a recommended 2019-2022 Operating Budget is approved by Finance Committee, it is expected to come before City Council on Nov. 26 for formal approval.
Gerald Gauthier, Communications Consultant
City of Lethbridge