The City of Lethbridge's capital and operating budgets will be in better synchronization moving forward.
As part of Consent Agenda at Tuesday's meeting, Lethbridge City Council voted unanimously to approve existing 2026 capital projects within the 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). This will include projects in Transportation, Environmental Utilities and Electric Utility (Section C, E & F); existing ongoing 2026 CIP projects in Community (Section D); plus, a reallocation of other 2026 CIP projects in Section D with Undetermined Funding to 2027.
On August 24, 2021, City Council approved the streamlining of the operating and capital budgets to achieve an aligned four-year CIP and Operating Budget cycle. Only four years (2022-2025) had previously been approved within the 2022-2031 CIP, so Tuesday's approvals will allow the four-year capital and operating budgets to be aligned starting in 2026 for the 2027-2030 budget cycle.
"Being Economically Prosperous is one of our strategic focus areas within Council's Gateway to Opportunity 2022 Action Plan," says Deputy Mayor Jenn Schmidt-Rempel, Vice-Chair of Economic Standing Policy Committee, which made the recommendations to Council. "We want to ensure we're being responsible financial stewards for our residents and this decision will help with better coordinated budget timelines moving forward."
"This change will allow City Council to approve budgets that will mostly be in place during their term," says Jennifer Jerred, Controller, Corporate Finance with Treasury & Financial Services. "We had seen in the past that some terms of City Council approve or make budgetary decisions that have largely affected the following term of a new City Council. We applaud Council's decision as this will immeasurably help the City's overall budgeting processes."
As part of Tuesday's resolution, Council also directed Administration to make the appropriate amendments to the 2022-2031 CIP document and to bring a CIP funding update to Economic SPC when the Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) allocation is determined by the Government of Alberta.
Public engagement for the 2023-2026 Operating Budget will begin in mid-August. Lethbridge City Council will meet as Economic SPC for Operating Budget deliberations from November 14-18.
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