June 24th, 2024

City council defers decision on tax offset for Lethbridge Housing Authority

By Tim Kalinowski on August 26, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

City council has deferred decision on a potential $90,023 tax offset for the Lethbridge Housing Authority for two weeks.
The Lethbridge Housing Authority had originally asked for a tax cancellation from city council at a previous public meeting to help with inflationary pressures facing the organization from increased maintenance costs and other rising costs on its subsidized seniors housing facilities within the city. The Lethbridge Housing Authority cited the example of the Calgary Housing Corporation which has been granted such a tax cancellation by that city’s council for the past three years.
Alternatively, the LHA also asked council to consider tapping the $5 million fund set aside for affordable housing in Lethbridge to pay the taxes on behalf of LHA if it did not want to approve the tax cancellation directly to the organization.
Council tabled the matter at the Aug. 10 meeting after some councillors expressed their reluctance to provide a tax cancellation which might set a precedent for other facilities operated by non-profits throughout the city.
When the matter returned to council during Tuesday’s meeting, the proposal had changed. Instead of offering a tax cancellation for the $90,000 requested, the money would come in the form of a one-time tax offset grant allocated from unused funds set aside for the City’s COVID-19 rent subsidy program.
However, some councillors said they were still uncomfortable about potentially setting a precedent and asked for more time to ponder the repercussions of approving such a grant.
The matter was then tabled for another two weeks.
Lethbridge Housing Authority CAO Robin James said the goal of her organization’s request is to simply keep housing for lower income seniors and those in need in the community as affordable as possible in keeping with the City’s own Municipal Housing Strategy.
“We just want to be able to keep our rent as affordable as possible for the people we are serving to ensure they will be successful in maintaining housing,” stated James.

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