October 25th, 2021

Rajko Dodic: Former Lethbridge mayor seeking seat on council


By Tim Kalinowski on September 29, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski - Former Lethbridge mayor Rajko Dodic is seeking a seat in this fall's municipal election as a councillor.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

Former Lethbridge mayor Rajko Dodic is seeking a fourth term on city council, (this time as a councillor), after a period of time away from local politics.
“I really enjoyed the work of being an elected official, dealing with the nuts and bolts of City operations,” he says. “One of the reasons I am running again is on the infrastructure needs and maintenance front, because I have noticed I feel like I am driving off road most of the time when I am driving on city streets. The potholes are amazing.”
Dodic says he is also concerned about the state of local parks, boulevards and green spaces. He feels too much money has been spent on building new things in the community and not enough on paying for the proper maintenance of the things we already have.
“Touching everything is what you can afford, and what you can pay,” he states. “One of the concerns I had is the pay-as-you-go plan that Mayor Carpenter had introduced decades ago dealt specifically with community projects. The example I use is the westside leisure centre (ATB). The council I was on approved three out of the four phases because we had the money to pay for them, which means we didn’t have to go to Alberta Capital Finance to borrow money and then have to repay them together with interest. We followed that plan, as did the former Mayor Tarleck. But the council in 2013 onwards decided on the full build out, which now means going from zero tax-supported debt in 2013, to now we have $55 million in tax-supported debt (for that).”
And while all these projects, such as the ATB Centre or the Exhibition Park expansion, are popular in the community, Dodic feels the City has carried too much of the cost burden for them.
“With the Lethbridge Exhibition there was a resolution our council had put in place that said: ‘Yes, we will fund this if you can get one third of the money from the federal government, one third of the money from the provincial government, and the City would put in one third.’ What happened is the federal government put in zero, the provincial government put in a third, and the rest came from the City.”
Dodic gives the example of when his council approved the Casa build to illustrate what he means.
“The capital costs were paid for by the province, by the feds, and contributed to by the University of Lethbridge,” he says. “The City on that $21 million project contributed $200,000.”
Besides the increasing debt, another thing that has changed since Dodic was mayor is the escalating social impacts of the drug crisis in Lethbridge.
“Sometimes there are problems that may not have a solution, and certainly not a solution that a municipality on their own can deal with,” Dodic states. “This is a health issue, and that is a provincial matter to a great degree.”
And while the most severe impacts are local, Dodic says there is little a city council can do except deal with the secondary consequences, such as crime, as best it can. That’s why he says it baffles him the current city council chose to cut the police budget as it did.
Dodic says another decision that baffles him is the approval of the blue bin program, particularly when there already was such high uptake on the City’s three existing recycling depots (85 per cent) which his council had established. While the blue bin “horse has already left the barn,” Dodic acknowledges, the green bin proposal is a horse of a different colour.
“Absolutely I would revisit it (if elected),” he says.
While it has been nearly a decade since he sat in public office, Dodic is hoping Lethbridge voters give him another opportunity to work on their behalf.
“I want to thank the electorate for giving me three terms on council,” he says. “I am asking for a fourth term as a councillor, and I would be honoured and proud if they would give me that opportunity. And if given that opportunity, I would do the best that I can to address the very diverse issues that we all have. We can’t agree all the time, but all you can ask of a person is that they do their best. And I promise to do that.”

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pursuit diver

I respect you and you will have my vote, but we differ on one major issue. You state ““This is a health issue, and that is a provincial matter to a great degree.”
These are our streets, the taxpayers of this city’s streets and we DO have a right to decide what happens on them and it IS up to Council to see the citizens our protected from the actions we are currently facing by the deviants that have been allowed to take over our streets, neighbourhoods and parks, believing this is their land and they can openly use drugs anywhere they want, drink where-ever they want, commit sexual acts and defecate/urinate where-ever they want and sleep anywhere they want!
We DO NOT have to put up with that and we DO expect change by the new Council!
Also, tax dollars are still tax dollars paid by the taxpayer, municipal, provincial or federal and when take so much for various projects from outside sources like the feds or provincial governments, when you need other important projects funded by them. they will look back and say, we just gave you $40 million dollars in the past 5 years, you cannot expect us to fund the new project at this time, such as the third bridge.
No matter how you look at it, the art’s community just have over $40 million put into the Yates, SAGA, CASA, Bowman Center, etc., no matter where it came from and what was the cost of plans for the $100 million performing arts center, that had to be a few more hundred thousand, because this Council put $300,000 into researching plans for a $25-$30 million Indigenous interpretive center in our city, which by the way should not be our tax dollars and in our city but on the reserve!
People are tired and want our streets back. Are you up for the job!!! ???

snowman

Mr. Dodic if as past mayor or now elected councilor speaking to the Organic collection proposal a five-year timeline no target on Industrial , commercial, institutional (ICI) 20,000 TONNES YEARLY and residential 5000 tonnes yearly of organic waste. The ICI with an Organic Cell #7 solution $50.00 tonne special tipping fee.The residential organic curbside target 50%, cost $15m to 20m for a residential organic project. Would you support action on ICI first before residential?



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