June 18th, 2024

City details community budget requests


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

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge city council, acting in its capacity as Economic Standing Policy Committee, was presented recently with a draft budget to consider. Council, through that SPC, will on Nov. 14-18 hold deliberations on the budget.

The draft budget document is a lengthy one which includes many requests from City departments, local organizations, boards and committees.

To give readers an idea what requests have been made to council, the Herald is presenting here, in no particular order, highlights of some of the funding asks:

* Lethbridge Public Library

1) The library is proposing to create a library crisis intervention worker position. “The position will focus on building relationships, providing informal counselling and referral services, providing basic education, recognizing and de-escalating, physical crisis situations, approach patron behaviour modification from a restorative justice approach; and training library staff in supporting crisis response.”

Cost is $87,700 in 2023, $88,400 in ’24, $90,100 in ’25 and $91,900 in ’26.

2) The library is proposing the creation of a library outreach position. “This position will focus on providing services outside the library’s walls, directed at supporting local business and entrepreneurs; providing connections to resources related to continuing education, adult learning and informal education opportunities and connecting with under-served populations.

Cost $99,600 in 2024, $101,600 in ’25 and $103,500 in ’26.

* Community – council referral

A request to spend $15,000 to make drinking water freely available in public areas during the summer months at Galt Gardens/SAAG, Henderson Lake Park, Nicholas Sheran Park and Legacy Park.

* Community – council referral

A request to reinstate the spring cleanup program starting in 2023. This could result in additional utility charges of $1.96 per month on all residential accounts.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to spend $305,000 annually to add operating grant funds to the Affordable and Social Housing Operating grant with the inclusion of a 0.5 FTE position.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to add a 0.5 FTE position to support the going implementation of the 2019-2025 Municipal Housing Strategy and the administration/monitoring of the Affordable and Social Housing Capital Grant.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to increase the fee for on-street parking fines from $25 to $50 while maintaining the $15 reduction if payment is received within seven days from the date of the offence.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to fund $200,000 annually from 2023-26 for a fee assistance program which would purchase transit fares for individuals and families who meet certain criteria.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to eliminate transit fees for seniors over 66 and youth 18 and under.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to create a chief of staff position for mayor and council starting in 2026 for a salary of $147,947. This will allow the City Manager to focus more on day-to-day operations of the City and to have political objectives taken care of by the office of mayor and council. It also allows mayor and council to choose their staff in conjunction with the election cycle.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to fund a non-permanent employee for $63,000 in 2023 and $83,000 in ’24 to work toward a goal of generating revenue to reduce Enmax Centre tax support and assist other departments in addition new programs or reducing the cost of programs through a sponsorship and advertising program.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to fund a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Grant which would provide a matching grant to support business and landowners of commercial and multi-family properties with the costs associated with crime prevention improvements. Cost would be $254,000 in 2023, $56,100 in 2024, $57,900 in ’25 and $59,800 in ’26.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to transition one-time funding to ongoing funding for Lethbridge outreach programs. Those experiencing homelessness, mental health and/or addiction challenges require multifaceted support. Providing two outreach teams will be key in helping move individuals into the housing and recovery continuums through an approach best for the individual. Cost is $153,460 in 2023 and $260,000 in ’24 through ’26.

* Community – council referral.

Council is being asked to transition one-time funding to ongoing funding for the Clean Sweep program at an annual cost of $350,000 from 2023-26.

* Community – council referral

Council is being asked to hire one permanent FTE and one term position for 2023-24 to maintain the current level of service in Regulatory Services. The department had a cut in 2020 budget reductions but continues to see increased workload and service calls. Cost would be $212,000 in 2023, $218,000 in ’24, $112,000 in ’25 and $116,000 in ’26.

* Communication and Engagement Evolution.

Council is being asked to transition three existing term positions to permanent full-time positions which would enable this department to meet current terms of service. Cost would be $292,100 in 2023, $322,300 in ’24, $306,300 in ’25 and $353,100 in ’26.

* City Clerk

Council is being asked to provide one FTE to meet the growing demand and comply with legislated service levels for FOIP. The request includes one-time funding of $150,000 to develop the foundation and governance of a best practice corporate records management program Cost is $210,000 in 2023 and $73,8000 in ’24-’26.

* Treasury and Financial Services

Transition of a term position to permanent and the addition of one FTE to maintain existing levels of service in asset management. Cost is $67,000 in 2023, $138,000 in ’24, $143,000 in ’25 and $148,000 in ’26.

* Treasury and Financial Services.

Council is being asked to add 3 FTEs to support procurement centralization at a cost of $329,500 in 2023 and $358,500 in ’24 through ’26.

* Treasury and Financial Services

Council is being asked to provide 2 FTES to maintain existing service levels and ensure sustainability of the legislative, corporate and operational requirements of the organization. Cost is $137,000 in 20234, $276,200 in ’24, $285,400 in ’25 and $295,000 in ’26.

* Information Technology Services and Digital Transformation

* Council is being asked to transition a term position to a permanent FTE. Cost is $188,775 in 2023, $192,865 in ’24, $197,044 in ’25 and $201,315 in ’26.

* Opportunity Lethbridge

* An initiative calls for adding 2 FTEs to ensure compliance with revised Transport Canada regulations which require Lethbridge airport to ensure it is staffed by airfield maintenance specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cost is $156,400 in 2023, $161,700 in ’24, $167,200 in ’25 and $172,800 in ’26.

* Opportunity Lethbridge – Event Support program.

A new initiative takes a strategic approach to event support grants that includes an increase in funding to both the major community event grant and community event support grant as well as the creation of a mid-sized event grant. Cost is $239,550 in 2023, $241,050 in ’24, $242,900 in ’25 and $244,800 in ’26.

* Opportunity Lethbridge

An initiative would establish a matching grant based on 50 per cent of the amount of a BIA district’s total levy to support its efforts to create and maintain economically prosperous community districts. Cost is $142,000 in 2023, $148,000 in ’24, $155,000 in ’25 and $162,000 in ’26.

* Opportunity Lethbridge

An initiative would create a fund that can be accessed to provide financial incentives to support various initiatives. Cost is $1,054,600 in 2023, $1,056,100 in ’24, $1,057,900 in ’25 and $1,059,800 in ’26.

* Parks and Cemeteries

Council is being asked to add 10 non-permanent FTEs to meet existing services levels. Cost is $613,200 in 2023, $629,300 in ’24, $647,300 in ’25 and $669,100 in ’26.

* Parks and Cemeteries

Council is being asked to fund 1 FTE to spray chemicals on concrete medians and median shrub beds as a planned maintenance activity three times per year. Cost is $101,300 in 2023, $103,700 in ’24, $106,400 in ’25 and $109,700 in ’26.

*Regulatory Services

This department is looking for one-time funding to support the Animal Welfare Committee’s efforts to mitigate the feral cat problem. The initiative is aimed at seeing a reduction in the number of cats within each colony over time.

* Galt Museum and Archives

The museum is seeking to hire a 0.56 FTE communications assistant for a four-year pilot project. The cost would be $29,400 in 20234, $29,500 in ’24, $29,600 in ’25 and and $29,700 in ’26. The request is in response to increased programs demand on social media and traditional media channels which necessitates the expansion of marketing and communications Human Resources.

* Galt Museum and Archives.

The museum is seeking to hire a 0.56 FTE Indigenous curator positions for a four-year pilot project to improve Indigenous history content in the collections, exhibits and programs throughout the museum and Fort Whoop-Up. The cost would be $59,000 in 2023, $59,200 in ’24, $59,500 in ’25 and $59,700 in ’26.

* Allied Arts Council

The AAC is seeking fee-for service of $227,949 in 2023, $241,901 in ’24, $259,286 in ’25 and $276,669 in ’26.

* Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden

The garden is seeking fee-for-service at a cost of $400,464 in 2023, $417,097 in ’24, $434,032 in ’25 and $451,457 in ’26.

* Southern Alberta Art Gallery

SAAG is seeking fee-for-service at a cost of $185,500 in ’23, $196,579 in ’24, $207,990 in ’25 and $219,744.

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