Time For Some Common Sense At City Hall
Lethbridge can be the best place in the world to live, work, play, raise a family, and start a business.
And yes, we know that might sound like just another empty campaign promise or economic development slogan, but we truly believe that with the right ideas, policies, and people, that vision can become a reality.
The last few years have been very tough for Lethbridge.
A triple-hit of an ongoing economic downturn, an oil price crash, and a pandemic have increased unemployment, cut incomes, and slashed business revenue, all while ever-higher taxes – particularly at the municipal level – have increased everyone's expenses.
Every Lethbridge citizen and business has had to make sacrifices, and it should be no different at City Hall.
While it is commendable that our local council took a pay cut during the pandemic, this is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the overall City budget.
Lethbridge now has one of the highest property taxes in Alberta, and constantly hiking taxes is simply no longer sustainable.
The need to get spending under control has seemingly become obvious to all but our representatives.
There has also been a growing frustration stemming from a demonstrated lack of common sense, transparency, and accountability from City Council.
The time has come to challenge the accepted narrative that has dominated the debate on these issues for years.
If we want Lethbridge to be the best place it can be, it is crucial for our City to have an organization dedicated to shining a light on all these important local issues.
That's where Common Sense Lethbridge comes in.
Common Sense Lethbridge is a new, independent, non-profit, grassroots, municipal group dedicated to advocating on issues important to the citizens of Lethbridge in three key areas.
First, we aim to focus municipal spending on core priorities so we can keep taxes low.
We believe that Council spends too much time and too much money on things that are not the proper responsibility of municipal government and that all the time and money spent on these distractions have also jeopardized the quality and effectiveness of the services the City is actually responsible for delivering.
Second, we aim to increase accountability and transparency at City Hall.
We believe that Lethbridgians deserve to know what is happening at Council meetings, where their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent, how the City's priorities are being determined, and whether the services they are receiving are providing good value for their money.
Third, we aim to maximize the freedom and choice of Lethbridge residents and businesses.
We believe that municipal government exists to serve the needs of residents, businesses, and the community, not the other way around, and that wherever possible government should take a step back and allow Lethbridge residents and businesses to grow, innovate, and thrive.
While the 2021 municipal election is rapidly approaching, Common Sense Lethbridge is not a partisan political organization.
Rather, we are a citizen-led organization that seeks to connect members of the community, inform them about what's happening at City Hall, and provide them with the tools to effect change.
Our focus will always be on our core mission of researching, analyzing, explaining, and promoting the best possible public policies that will make Lethbridge the best place in the world to live, work, play, raise a family, and start a business.
If you agree with that vision and want to help us achieve our three core goals of prioritizing spending to keep taxes low, increasing accountability and transparency, and maximizing freedom and choice, please don't hesitate to get in touch and get involved.
Ronnie DeGagne is the Executive Director of Common Sense Lethbridge (www.commonsenselethbridge.com), an independent non-profit municipal advocacy group.