Lethbridge City Council will convene as Economic Standing Policy Committee beginning Monday, November 14, to start on the City of Lethbridge 2023-2026 Operating Budget Review.
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. The draft 2023-2026 Operating Budget can be viewed here, a full outline of the Operating Budget can be found here and a breakdown of value added life in Lethbridge (including tax rate increase trends of the past 20 years) can be found here.
The previous City Council delivered three consecutive years, 2020 to 2022, of zero per cent municipal tax increases to help minimize the financial impacts of the pandemic. In addition, in 2019, Council approved a 1.82 per cent municipal tax rate increase, which was the lowest tax increase in the last 20 years.
"A zero per cent tax increase is not sustainable for maintaining our existing levels of service for the next four years, so City Council will have some very difficult decisions to make during these budget deliberations next week," says Mayor Blaine Hyggen, who will chair the Operating Budget Review deliberations.
The 2023-2026 Operating Budget Review will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, November 14. The meeting will recess by 4:30 p.m. each day and reconvene at 9:30 a.m. the following day. The agendas can be found here. These deliberations are open to the public, will be livestreamed on the City's YouTube page and broadcast on Shaw TV Lethbridge. Residents can also follow live updates on Twitter through the City Clerk's account at @LethCityClerk and read a daily recap posted to the City's website throughout the deliberations.
The recommendations from deliberations will be forwarded to City Council for potential approval at the regular meeting on November 29. 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.