A new four year operating budget for Lethbridge will be presented on Tuesday and Wednesday during Economic SPC meetings. Members will received a draft review of the 2023-2026 budget, hear presentations on several proposed new initiatives and receive the Operating Budget What We Heard Report, which has been compiled from online and in-person engagement completed during the past several months. The budget involves the day-to-day costs of delivering municipal services and programs such as police, emergency services, streets and roads and parks. The draft budget for the next four years is forecasting a municipal property tax increase of 3.77 per cent. For a $285,800 single family home that will total $94.20 extra per year. That does not include any new initiatives or changes to service levels. In 2019, there was a 1.82 per cent municipal tax increase.
According to Stats Canada Lethbridge is currently ranked number one with the highest crime severity index in the country. Lethbridge Mayor Blaine Hyggen also discussed the idea of bringing back $1 million into the police budget for our city. He said he would continue push for more funding for LPS during budget deliberations.
“It’s something that obviously I was a strong advocate for keeping the police budget the way that it was going forward and the reduction definitely is, in my opinion, has been a struggle with our community. Because having the safety is aspect that comes along with that I believe has been altered a little bit. So I think it’s important to be able to get that budget back to what it was. That will be part of part of the discussions and I’m hoping that it is- that it is supported.”
Operating budget approvals will take place from November 14-18th during the Economic SPC meeting. Recommendations will be forwarded to city council by November 29th. Council will have to approve an operating budget by December 31st.