The budget draft review was a main focus on Tuesday. Members of the Lethbridge Economic Standing Policy Committee met at City Hall to engage in presentations, debate and engagement about the 2023-2026 operating budget. The annual Capital Budget for the year makes up $76 million and the Operating Budget totals $433 million. The capital portion meaning roads, construction and new parks. The operating budget puts money into policing, transit, and fire services.
In 2022, the police along with fire and EMS budget for wages and personnel was just under $74 million. Darrell Mathews, the city treasurer says there are some external pressures that the city is facing regarding the budget draft review.
“Grants in lieu of taxes for the province. So if I remember right there was about a 50 per cent reduction in the amount the province pays for municipal taxes on their buildings or grants in lieu. The other piece would be the photo radar. So photo radar revenues once again also had a reduction over the last period, and that’s roughly about a $1.2 million pressure.
The Corporate Budget Contingency, which are funds set aside for unexpected expenditures would be $500,000 in 2024. It will increase to 1.5 million in 2026. Wednesday will mark the second day of the review. 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.