LETHBRIDGE: Aldermen have just wrapped day one of budget debates at city hall Monday.
The day-long meeting was spent mostly on review of base budget items and new initiatives, which if approved will raise the tentative target of a 2.5 per cent tax increase per year over three years, for a total increase of 7.5 per cent. Alderman Jeff Carlson, who chairs the finance committee, says his colleagues still seem undecided on whether or not they'll approve the new initiatives that come with a price tag that will affect tax rates.
"I will admit I've heard a couple of my colleagues have come out and said, 2.5 per cent and nothing else," he told Country 95 News. "I hope that once we get into discussion and debate they'll see that might not be what citizens want."
There are several new initiative proposals in front of city council right now - some from community groups, some from within city administration. If council approved every request currently on the table, it's estimated the tax increase would be 3.66 per cent per year over three years, a total of 11.1 per cent.
Council will sit as finance committee for day-long meetings scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. They will vote on and finalize the budget at a council meeting on Monday, November 28.