May 21st, 2024

Council to address two official business motions


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on May 14, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Councillor Jenn Schmidt-Rempel will be presenting two official business motions when city council meets today at 12:30 p.m. in council chambers.

The first motion will ask council to have the city manager update the Family Physician Action Plan, authorize mayor Blaine Hyggen to write a letter to the provincial health minister advocating for specific recruitment effort efforts here for family doctors and other physicians in specialty areas and lastly that council allocate $15,000 from council contingencies for a refreshed marking and recruitment campaign in partnership with Alberta Health Services and other community partners.

The motion states that having appropriate numbers of doctors and other key health care positions in Lethbridge is a priority for council and that the City has taken an active role in partnering and advocating for the recruitment and retention of family doctors for the past two years.

Schmidt-Rempel’s second motion asks for council to authorize Hyggen to invite representatives from Lethbridge College, Red Crow College and the University of Lethbridge to a meeting of the Governance Standing Policy Committee to brief the SPC on retention rates among graduates, their efforts to support a greater retention of grads here and provide recommendations on how council could support such efforts.

Her motion states that “graduates of these institutions have the potential to contribute to our community socially, economically, and culturally, using the skills and experience gained through their studies” and grads from the three are a needed source of talent and expertise for employers not only here but globally.

Also on today’s agenda, council will be asked to give second and third reading to three tax bylaws.

They include the tax installment pre-payment plan bylaw which must be enacted before Wednesday so administration can calculate the 2024-25 monthly Tax Installment Prepayment Plan amounts in the tax notices that will be generated on Wednesday.

TIPP allows authorized taxpayers to pay their 2025 taxes in 10 equal monthly installments from Aug. 1 of this year until May 1, 2025.

Automatic withdrawals secure a monthly cash flow for the City exceeding $8.7 million. The bylaw will set the TIPP discount rate at two per cent which maintains the 2023-24 rate.

“With continued focus on economic recovery, key market indicators are showing signs of slowing economic growth in the fight against high inflation. Financial institutions are forecasting that in 2024 and 2025 rate cuts will begin and the path back to the target rate will slow. The two per cent rate aligns with the City’s investment portfolio forecast and is comparable to returns on basic savings accounts and term deposits, serving as an incentive for enrollment or retention in TIPP,” says a report to be presented to council by property tax manager Kerry Boogaart.

Council will also be asked to give second and third readings to the 2024 property tax and supplementary property tax rate Bylaw 6435 which sets the rates to be imposed within the city to raise required municipal revenues

To meet mail-out requirements, this bylaw must be passed today. The bylaw also sets tax rates to raise requisitions for the Alberta School Foundation, Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Separate Regional Division 4, the Green Acres Foundation and the Designated Industrial Property requisition.

And council will be asked to give second and third readings to Bylaw 6436, the Downtown BIA Tax Rate bylaw. This bylaw must also be passed today for the City to bill and collect the 2024 Downtown BIA tax levy on or before the June 28 due date.

On March 26, council approved the BIA budget request of $266,798.47.

A report to council says that in February, City administration identified 542 taxable businesses in the BIA, which is up seven from 2023, and 151 vacant building units.

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Citi Zen

The city spends $43 million on bicycle trails, and $15,000 for family doctor recruitment. I guess we know where their priorities lie.



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