June 24th, 2024

Budget implications positive for city, says Hyggen

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 26, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge Mayor Blaine Hyggen says he’s excited the provincial budget revealed Thursday helps to address the doctor shortage here.
That shortage, which has left about 40,000 residents without a family physician, is a major issue here, said the mayor Friday.
And while he doesn’t see much yet in the budget that specifically mentions Lethbridge, the mayor suggested to media Friday it’s a positive one for the city.
Hyggen congratulated the provincial government for delivering a balanced budget in a Teams meeting with media.
“We knew going into this budget 2022 the province has continued to responsibly and sustainably invest in the infrastructure needs of communities. Total funding for communities, which includes both provincial and federal funding, is forecast to average over $1.9 billion per year from 2022 to 2023 through to 2024 to 2025.
“Funding under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative and the local government fiscal framework will total nearly $1.7 billion over the next three years with funding of $485 million in 2022 to 2023 and 2023 to 2024 under that MSI,” said the mayor.
Lethbridge’s MSI allocation will be about $10.85 million for 2022, he said. Allocations from the 2022 Canada Community Fund, formerly known as the federal gas tax fund, will be just over $6 million.
“We’re unsure yet how this funding will directly impact the City of Lethbridge. We’ve known for several years the MSI funding allocations will be lower. This was considered when the city had its most recent operating budget deliberations in late 2020 so we kept that in mind knowing that was going to be the case,” said the mayor.
Hyggen said he’s encouraged about funding for physician recruitment.
“This is something that was really I found to be great, especially for our community with the struggles that we’re having currently with doctor shortage. As we know, it’s a top issue and we look forward to hearing more details on the matter,” he said.
The mayor is also looking forward to more information on the launch of a provincial Emergency Medical Service Advisory committee “to provide immediate and long-term recommendations that will inform a new provincial EMS service plan as well as AHS’s plan to roll out a 10-point plan to quickly add EMS capacity. This is a significant matter of importance to our community.”
He said the Minister of Advanced Education’s operating expense forecast reflects an increase of $195 million from 2021 primarily in post-secondary education institute spending, due to mainly costs from new labour agreements and increases in the provision for future costs of student loans as a result of eliminating the loan subsidy provision and applying the new default rate calculation in 2020.
He said the City is hopeful “that this will be good news for the University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge College.
“In general, we look forward to learning more in the coming weeks and months of what this budget specifically means for Lethbridge,” the mayor said.
While he didn’t see a lot of items specifically for Lethbridge, he was told during meetings with some ministers there are budget allocations and that funding will be allocated in the future.
“Just because we didn’t see Lethbridge per se in the announcement in many of the different areas, we did see doctor shortage. We noticed they’re going to be addressing some of that. So this is how that funding is going to help our community,” added the mayor.

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Southern Albertan

Perhaps Mayor Hyggen’s hopes indicate a skewed support for the right wing, and a less than hopeful budget.

Ben Matlock

If I had to put money on it, I’d say the Mayor is angling for the UCP nomination in the next provincial election. Either that or he’s been warned that the UCP has a history of punishing their critics. Or, maybe, he’s playing two hands at once.

Elohssa Gib

The budget is good news for the UofL, really? The UofL saw another $4.8 million (5.1%) cut to its operating grant. That’s “good news”? That is not good news for the UofL and it is certainly not good news for the City.

Last edited 2 years ago by Elohssa Gib

The Mayor seems to support the UCP, but does he support Lethbridge? No.

Last edited 2 years ago by DarrenC

Methinks our Mayor wears no clothes! Unbelievably partisan and quite simply moronic assessment of the budget by Mayor Hyggen.


“The minister was gleeful as he contrasted the different fiscal approaches of the NDP with the UCP. The NDP regime was characterized by “increased government spending, increased personal taxes, corporate taxes, a carbon tax resulting in “an exodus of investment, economic decline, massive job loss, and perpetual deficits.”
Toews characterized the results of the UCP approach in hyperbolic terms…”


Last edited 2 years ago by IMO