June 15th, 2024

Operating Budget 2023-2026 Deliberations Day 4 recap


By Lethbridge Herald on November 17, 2022.

CITY OF LETHBRIDGE –

On Thursday, November 17, Lethbridge City Council continued deliberations as Economic Standing Policy Committee for its 2023-2026 Operating Budget.

The recommendations from deliberations will be forwarded to City Council for potential approval at the regular meeting on November 29. In accordance with Municipal Government Act requirements, City Council must approve an operating budget by December 31 so the City can pass a property tax bylaw. The draft budget can be viewed here.The Amended Initiative Sheets for 2023-2026 Operating Budget can be viewed here.

 

Thursday’s deliberations included the following items:

  • N-33: Lethbridge Police Commission and Service (Community Safety, Frontline Support, Org Wellbeing) (postponed from Wednesday)

Proposed funding source is taxation for $2,235,460 in 2023, $4,084,673 in 2024, $4,952,661 in 2025 and $4,961,464 in 2026. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would adjust for the $1 million cut in 2021-2022, add 22 police officers (including seven for youth engagement) and provide support for the police officers, including records management, FOIP, Human Resources and Information Technology.

 

  • N-34: Chinook Arch Member Library Board & Municipal Membership Fees (postponed from Wednesday)

With an 8-1 vote in favour, a recommendation for Administration to conduct an update to the cost benefit analysis regarding the Chinook Arch Library Board membership and report back by December 2023 will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. This budget initiative looked to centralize some services and realize efficiencies and cost savings.

 

  • N-44: Environment Lethbridge – Fee for Service

This item was tabled to Friday.

 

  • N-45: Henderson Stadium Society – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $5,300 per year in each of the four years in the budget cycle. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would offset increasing wages and operating costs.

 

  • N-46: Lethbridge & District Exhibition – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $169,100 per year in each of the four years in the budget cycle. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would provide long-term capital maintenance of the new Agri-food Hub & Trade Centre through lifecycle funding from the City.

 

  • N-47: Lethbridge Softball Association – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $60,000 per year in each of the four years in the budget cycle. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would cover extra costs to maintain the facility as per the lease agreement.

 

  • N-48: Lethbridge Sport Council – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $61,878 in 2023, $68,963 in 2024, $76,260 in 2025 and $83,777 in 2026. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would help cover the rising costs of venue rental fees, materials, supplies and other inflationary increases.

 

  • N-49: Lethbridge Symphony – Operating Grant

Proposed funding source is operations for $53,900 per year in each of the four years in the budget cycle. From an 8-1 vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would provide stable funding for the non-profit community symphony.

 

  • N-50: Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $400,664 in 2023, $417,097 in 2024, $434,032 in 2025 and $451,457 in 2026. From a 5-4 vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would take the minimum wage, new initiative and one-time funding that was in place during 2019-2022 and include it into base operational funding moving forward.

 

  • N-51: Nord-Bridge Senior Centre – Operating Grant

Proposed funding source is a Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve (MRSR) one-time allocation for $75,000 per year in each of the four years in the budget cycle. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would provide operational funding as they continue to explore provincial and federal operational funding for senior centres.

 

  • N-52: Prairie Baseball Academy – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $3,830 per year in each of the four years in the budget cycle. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would help offset staffing and operational costs.

 

  • N-53: Southern Alberta Art Gallery – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $185,500 in 2023, $196,579 in 2024, $207,990 in 2025 and $219,744 in 2026. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would help stabilize operations and support the Gallery’s updated organizational chart.

 

  • N-54: Southern Alberta Ethnic Association – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $108,900 in 2023, $111,010 in 2024, $117,243 in 2025 and $121,603 in 2026. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would keep up with operational and programming costs due to inflation.

 

  • N-55: SouthGrow – Operating Grant

In a 5-4 vote, this item was defeated. This budget initiative looked at providing stable funding for the organization’s goals of a regional economic development alliance in south central Alberta.

  • Motion approved in a 7-2 vote to include funding for three initiatives to be allocated conditionally upon the report on the Regional Economic Development and Tourism Strategy to City Council through the December 21, 2022, Economic SPC:

o   N-56: Tourism Lethbridge – Sport & Meeting Development

Proposed funding source is a MRSR one-time allocation for $46,500 in 2023, $26,500 in 2024 and $21,500 in 2025. This budget initiative would implement an external investment campaign for Lethbridge as a destination to host meetings and sport events.

o   N-57: Tourism Lethbridge – Airport Marketing for Tourism

Proposed funding source is a MRSR one-time allocation for for $15,000 in 2023, $10,000 in 2024 and $5,000 in each 2025 and 2026. This budget initiative would, in collaboration with the City, use expertise and resources to attract travelers to from new destinations where direct air service operates.

o   N-59: Tourism Lethbridge – Digital Media Library

Proposed funding source is a MRSR one-time allocation for $20,000 in each 2023 and 2024. This budget initiative would upgrade systems for digital media and stories.

 

  • Motion approved in an 8-1 vote to include funding for four initiatives to be allocated conditionally upon the report on the Regional Economic Development and Tourism Strategy to City Council through the December 21, 2022, Economic SPC:

o   N-39: Economic Development Lethbridge – Agrifood Cluster Ignition Proposed funding source is a MRSR one-time allocation of $125,000 in 2023, $115,000 in 2024 and $100,000 in 2025. This budget initiative would focus on research and marketing programs.

o   N-40: Economic Development Lethbridge – Supply Chain & Logistics Ignition

Proposed funding source is a MRSR one-time allocation of $108,500 in 2023, $117,750 in 2024 and $92,035 in 2025. This budget initiative would focus on research and marketing programs.

o   N-41: Economic Development Lethbridge – Creative Industries Cluster

Proposed funding source is a MRSR one-time allocation of $152,500 in 2023, $355,000 in 2024, $238,500 in 2025 and $187,070 in 2026. This budget initiative would serve as a starting point for the formal coordination and proactive development of the creative industries sector in Lethbridge.

o   N-42: Economic Development Lethbridge – Market Intelligence

Proposed funding source is a MRSR one-time allocation of $16,000 in 2023, $68,500 in 2024, $79,000 in 2025 and $28,500 in 2026. This budget initiative would provide funds to update important economic indicators and market data used by external investors and site selectors.

 

  • N-43: Economic Development Lethbridge – Operational Excellence

Postponed until 9:30 a.m. Friday.

 

  • N-58: Tourism Lethbridge – Event Grant Management

This item was withdrawn. This budget initiative would have ensured events are maximized in the community for economic growth.

 

  • N-60: Tourism Lethbridge – Wages & Benefits Inflation

Proposed funding source is taxation for $20,000 in 2023, $32,000 in 2024, $40,000 in 2025 and $48,000 in 2026. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would adjust wages and benefits according to inflation pressures.

 

  • N-61: Westminster Neighbourhood Association – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $20,042 in 2023, $22,950 in 2024, $25,989 in 2025 and $29,163 in 2026. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would allow the WNA to continue the management and operations of the Westminster Community Center and the Westminster Outdoor Public Pool.

 

  • N-62: YWCA Neighbourhood Play Program – Operating Grant

Proposed funding source is taxation for $5,000 in each year of the four-year budget cycle. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would be used towards a staff wage increase for the Junior Leaders, effective immediately for the budget cycle of 2023 through 2026.

 

  • N-63: Volunteer Lethbridge – Operating Grant

This item was defeated in a unanimous vote. This budget initiative looked to provide funding for the continuation and growth of service to the nonprofit sector in Lethbridge.

 

  • N-64: YMCA Agreement Funding

In a 5-4 vote, this item was defeated. This budget initiative looked to continue the agreement with the City of Lethbridge and the YMCA which operates and manages the areas in Phase 2 of ATB Centre.

 

  • N-65: Little League District One – Fee for Service

Proposed funding source is taxation for $1,820 in each year of the four-year budget cycle. From a unanimous vote, this recommendation will move forward and be added to the draft budget for potential approval. If the project is approved, this would offset pressures of increasing wages and address operating cost increases due to inflation challenges.

The 2023-2026 Operating Budget Deliberations will resume at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 17. The meeting will recess by 4:30 p.m. each day and reconvene at 9:30 a.m. the following day. The agendas can be found here. These deliberations are open to the public, will be livestreamed on the City’s YouTube page and broadcast on Shaw TV Lethbridge. Residents can also follow live updates on Twitter through the City Clerk’s account at @LethCityClerk and read a daily recap posted to the City’s website throughout the deliberations.

Read the Day 3 recap here, the Day 2 recap here and the Day 1 recap here.

Friday’s deliberations will begin at 9:30 a.m. with two items, N-43 (Economic Development Lethbridge – Operational Excellence) and N-44 (Environment Lethbridge – Fee for Service), remaining before potential reviews of the existing recommendations.

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