Lethbridge: Some city Aldermen are taking very seriously, their legislative responsibility to set tax rates.
On Monday, May 2nd, Alderman Faron Ellis will put forward a motion at City Council, to reduce this year's property tax increase from 4.88-per cent to an even three-per cent. The motion seeks to amend Bylaw 5693, which authorized "The Levy of Tax upon all Taxable Property shown on the Assessment and Tax Roll and the Supplementary Assessment and Tax Roll for the year 2011".
Alderman Jeff Coffman says "Several members of Council, himself included, are exercising their legislative responsibility to set tax rates. We look at this as an opportunity to state to the city manager that we're not going to tolerate a 4.88 per cent increase -- we think that the citizens of Lethbridge will deal with a three-per cent increase this year -- make it work within that three-per cent."
Coffman notes, "The current city budget (for the span of 2009 through 2011) was passed in the fall of 2008 and the world was a much different financial creature at that time. A lot has changed. So this, in some ways, addresses a change as well -- a desire on behalf of a lot of the tax payers that we've spoken with, to begin cutting back a little bit on some of the programs and services we delivery".
While minor course corrections have been done to existing city budgets in the past, to the best of Coffman's knowledge, a Council has never before taken a lead in opening and altering an existing budget.
According to Coffman, "This ties in with the previous resolution that I brought up about accountability and efficiency. It's establishing these measures that will help us tie into (the next) budget deliberations, service delivery, level of service -- all of this includes citizen feedback. Where are the priorities for citizens?"
Alderman Ellis's proposal on Monday, is that City Council give first, second and third reading to his motion all on the same day. With nine members on Council, five votes are needed for the motion to pass.