May 2022 Mayor's Column
Last month, Lethbridge City Council outlined its first quarterly report for the Gateway to Opportunity 2022 Action Plan – which outlines the status of each initiative Council has identified as priorities.
See a video recap, sign up for future newsletters and read more information here.
A major component to Council's Action Plan is focused on Lethbridge Airport – where a grand opening was recently held with stakeholders and government partners. What a great day and event it was!
The City's contribution of $2.6 million was used to leverage substantial funding from other orders of government for a variety of critical infrastructure projects at the airport. We're so grateful to our Federal and Provincial partners for contributing more than $23 million to help bolster this facility for our city. This funding was used to renovate areas focused on increasing passenger traffic and fire safety – all to position the airport for pandemic recovery and future growth.
I'd like to extend my gratitude to Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver, MLA Nathan Neudorf, Reeve Tory Campbell and Lethbridge County Council, members of City administration and the rest of Lethbridge City Council past and present for being there to celebrate.
Construction work will continue with the pavement rehabilitation, baggage carousel and airfield lighting system all to be completed by 2023. Read more here.
Another major component of the 2022 Action Plan is continuing to show our commitment to Lethbridge residents with a common goal of recruitment and retention of family physicians for our community.
Last week at our regular meeting, Council further committed to partnering with key stakeholders. Council will allocate $15,000 from Council Contingencies to a family physician marketing and recruitment campaign. Watch this new advocacy video, which will be used to promote our great city and showcase the many different benefits of building a life and business in Lethbridge.
By joining together with the Chinook Primary Care Network (CPCN), AHS, Economic Development Lethbridge (EDL) and others, we have an opportunity to play a role in the areas of coordination, marketing, advocacy, partnerships and incentives. Advocacy efforts will continue as necessary to ensure Lethbridge is top of mind when decisions are being made and how we can partner and collaborate with the Alberta Government for the benefit of Lethbridge residents.
Additional Advocacy items related to health care topics in Lethbridge:
- Partnership and promotion of the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program (VODP) with Mental Health and Addictions
- Sending a letter to the Premier from Lethbridge City Council advocating for the addition of a catheterization lab in Lethbridge
- Continued Advocacy for EMS Dispatch improvement since changes were implemented in January 2021
At that same meeting, Council approved the bylaw outlining the 2022 municipal tax rate (or mill rate). This rate is determined by taking the City's budget divided by the total value of all properties within the City. An individual tax bill is calculated by multiplying the tax rate with the assessment value of the individual property to ensure all property owners pay their portion of funds required to operate the City of Lethbridge.
Residents will see an increase on their bills in 2022 due to a change in taxes collected by the Government of Alberta for the education tax and the Green Acres Foundation budget, as well as if there has been a change to their property assessment (the value of your home, business or multi-family complex). Lethbridge City Council continues to do what it can to curb tax increases for residents by maintaining a 0 per cent increase for the municipal portion of property tax bills in 2022.
Paying property taxes is an investment in the community and in Lethbridge, it is one that comes with a very high rate of return. For more information visit www.lethbridge.ca/valueformoney. For more information on how property taxes are calculated visit: www.lethbridge.ca/taxes. Read more background here.
Also at that April 26 meeting, Council approved the audited financial statements and the 2021 Annual Report Financials are now available on the City's website. By adding a new Digital Storyboard, the City is creating a more accessible, visual and cost effective way to share the year's accomplishments with residents.
Providing transparency into the City's finances is another important goal of the Annual Report. Understanding how tax dollars are spent helps the community see the value they get living in Lethbridge and builds trust and confidence between residents and local government. Any residents wanting a printed copy of the Annual Report stories or financials can do so by contacting the City's customer service contact centre at 311. More information is here.
Many people have asked me about how they can further get involved in our community. One great way is to apply to join one of Council's Boards, Committees and Commissions. The 2022 recruitment campaign will be underway soon, so please check back here for updates.
This week is Public Works Week and I can't think of a better time to celebrate the hard work the City of Lethbridge staff do to keep our city moving along. My Council colleagues and I recently took a field trip to tour through some infrastructure services facilities. It was so great to see behind the scenes of how the things we often taken for granted like running clean and safe water, garbage and recycling processed and how lights are kept on in our city. Thank you to all members of our public operations teams and the public servants. We appreciate you!
A few further recognitions for this month. Congratulations to Lethbridge's Coby Iwaasa and playing partner Sam Murray of Quebec who won a gold medal in racquetball men's doubles for Team Canada at the Pan Am Championships last month in Bolivia! Congratulations to Rachel Nicol who was named to Canada's swimming team selected to compete at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, from June 18 to July 3!
And finally, I'd like to thank Premier Kenney for his service to Albertans over such unprecedented times. Being at the helm of the province during times of plummeting oil prices and a global pandemic provided a difficult environment to govern in. As always, Lethbridge City Council looks forward to working with the Provincial Government and the next Premier of Alberta.
Be kind to one another and Happy Victoria Day long weekend, everyone!
Update since first being published:
You may have heard that the Calgary Flames and my beloved Edmonton Oilers are facing off in the first Battle of Alberta NHL playoff series since 1991. Along with the Downtown BRZ, the City has helped facilitate an outdoor viewing party for Game 4 on Tuesday night (May 24) at 7:30 p.m. The all-ages event will be outside of The Place at 420 6 Street South. Come on, down! Go Oilers!