Later this fall, City Council will set a new four-year operating budget and before making important decisions on how to grow and build Lethbridge, they want to hear what's most important to residents.
From August 17 to September 9, Lethbridge residents can give their two cents on how they would like to see the City budget spent. By visiting www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/mytwocents, participants can build their very own City operating budget and see how their spending priorities will impact property taxes. This information will be gathered and reported back to Council prior to budget deliberations.
"Setting the budget is one of the most important things City Council will do," says Deputy Mayor, Jenn Schmidt-Rempel. "That's why it's so important to engage with as many residents as we can. This information will give us a good sense of what the overall community priorities are so we can use that to make our decisions."
Community feedback is one of the most important pieces of information Council uses in budget decisions. The recent 2022 Community Survey done via telephone also informs Council on residents opinions towards local issues, quality of life, municipal services and City priorities. This will be used together with the online feedback gather over the next several weeks to help inform Council. Other important elements they will need to consider in 2022 include:
- Impacts of COVID-19
- Funding decreases from other levels of government
- Significant inflation costs
- Effects of holding a 0% tax increase over the last three years
- Less staff to provide services due to workforce adjustment in 2021
Why should residents give two cents about the City budget? Because City services impact everyone's daily life. Every time someone visits a pool, takes their dog for a walk in a park, drives down the road or takes the bus – they're using a City service. The City of Lethbridge supports the best days, like a great concert at the ENMAX Centre and comes through on the worst days like when police, fire or ambulance crews are called. For all of these reasons and hundreds more, the City's budget affects every single person living in Lethbridge.
"We also understand that rising costs of things like food and gas are having a significant impact on families and we want you to feel like you are getting the best value for every tax dollar you contribute to our City," says Schmidt-Rempel. "It's never easy but Council's job is to look at all of this information and balance what is most important to the community as a whole, with what residents are willing and able to pay in taxes."
With the approval of the operating budget later this fall, City Council will complete their move to aligning both the operating and capital budget cycles to every four years. Earlier this summer, City Council approved an extension of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to include 2026 streamlining both budgets for the 2027-2030 budget cycles.