Lethbridge Minute: Tax Increases, Requests Denied, and Airline Launch Delayed
Lethbridge Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Lethbridge politics
This Week In Lethbridge:
There will be a meeting of the Cultural and Social Standing Policy Committee on Wednesday at 1:30 pm. The Committee will begin the meeting by electing a chair and a vice-chair before receiving several submissions, including one from the Lethbridge Housing Authority, reporting back on a one-time grant. The Committee will also hear a report from the Recreation Services Manager regarding an Indoor Court/Multipurpose Space Audit and Analysis, and from City Administration regarding the Utility Box Wrapping Program.
Thursday’s meeting of the Governance Standing Policy Committee takes place at 1:30 pm and will begin with the election of a committee chair and vice-chair. The Committee will hear a presentation from the People and Culture General Manager regarding employee health & wellness administration and an annual update on creating a diverse & inclusive workforce. The Committee will also receive a pair of submissions, one regarding the City Manager Performance Review and another about City Council Professional Development Opportunities.
- On Friday, there will be a meeting of the Advocacy Advisory Committee at 9:00 am. No agenda is available yet.
Last Week In Lethbridge:
- The 2023-2026 operating budget was approved by the Economic Standing Policy Committee. The average annual property tax increase rose after the deliberations. It was originally proposed at just under 4%, but, after amendments, came in at 5.1%. If the Committee had not declined some of the proposals in front of them, property taxes would have risen more than 6% annually. The budget will now go before City Council on November 29th, where it will likely be approved.
- A pair of requests from Opportunity Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Public Library were shot down during budget deliberations. Opportunity Lethbridge wanted $4 million for a fund that would provide financial incentives for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design programs and a new flexible, strategic initiatives program to address things like physician recruitment and agri-food development. It wasn’t clear what the initiative was intended to accomplish, according to one Councillor. The Library wanted to finance the hiring of a new crisis intervention worker. The position would have cost taxpayers more than $90,000 in 2025 and 2026.
- The launch of Flair Airlines in Lethbridge has been delayed. The low-cost option was due to begin flights on December 1st, but has not been able to secure equipment like boarding ramps. Flights have been cancelled and refunds have been issued. They now hope to launch in December 2023. That’s a long and embarrassing delay after more than $25 million of taxpayer money was supposedly spent to upgrade the airport's infrastructure. Where did all our money actually go?
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