Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt the Economic Standing Policy Committee's recommendations to amend the City of Lethbridge's 2023-2026 Operating Budget.
With its approval, the 2023-2026 average annual change in municipal tax rate is 5.1 per cent for each of the next four years. This is equal to a $129.93 per year per single family house, based on an average market value of $285,800.
Economic SPC met from November 14-18 to deliberate the Operating Budget. You can see the recaps of each day of budget deliberations here.
"Public safety is the number one concern residents come to City Council with and this budget reflects the investment we're making to address those concerns," says Mayor Blaine Hyggen. "No one welcomes a tax increase but with zero increases over the past three years and climbing inflation, this is the budget needed to maintain our service levels and address those resident concerns."
In 2019, there was a 1.82 per cent municipal tax rate increase – which was the lowest in 20 years. The City of Lethbridge then maintained a zero per cent increase to the municipal portion of residential taxes for the three years of 2020, 2021 and 2022 to minimize the financial impacts of the pandemic to property owners.
"If you look at the overall change from 2019 to 2026, the average increase is less than 2.8 per cent per year during that eight-year span," says Mayor Hyggen. "The national inflation rate is also currently at 6.9 per cent. I really want to thank Council and City Administration for making sound financial decisions for the betterment of our community."
The City's Operating Budget involves the day-to-day costs of delivering municipal services and programs such as police, emergency services, streets and roads and parks. More background on the City's finances and documents can be found here. A breakdown of value added life in Lethbridge (including tax rate increase trends of the past 20 years) can be found here.
These adjustments will be applied to the municipal portion of residential property taxes. Individual properties may see a tax change on their bills for other reasons, such as: a change in property assessment (the value of your home, business or multi-family complex); an increase to the Green Acres Foundation budget or to the Alberta School budget; and new construction or demolition.
Property tax bills are specific to each property. Anyone with questions can contact 311 to get information specific to their assessment and tax bill. You can also visit https://www.lethbridge.ca/taxes to learn more about property taxes.
In accordance with Municipal Government Act requirements, City Council must approve an operating budget by December 31 so the City can pass a property tax bylaw.