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Lethbridge city council receives update on operational review

Lethbridge community issues committee receives update on operational review
WATCH ABOVE: Meeting as the Community Issues Committee, members of Lethbridge city council received an update in the three-year fiscal and operational review currently being performed by KPMG, which includes suggestions in a number of different areas, including changes in services and internal structure. Emily Olsen reports.

Lethbridge city council has received an update in the three-year fiscal and operational review currently being performed by KPMG.

City manager Bramwell Strain presented the Phase 1 findings on Monday at a community issues committee meeting, which included suggestions like making changes in services and internal structure.

READ MORE: Lethbridge City Council orders independent fiscal review

The key findings outline changing the Recreation and Culture fee for service agreements, handing off the operation of school buses to school divisions, reviewing eligibility guidelines for Access-A-Ride transit services, and operating the ENMAX Centre, which currently receives 15 per cent of its support from tax dollars.

“There were several suggestions of what could happen with ENMAX,” Strain said.

“Essentially, what [is happening] right now is it’s 85 per cent cost [recovery] and 15 per cent tax-supported.”
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Suggestions for upping revenue include increasing ticket sales, venue bookings and parking fees.

Strain said any number of changes would help to reduce the tax burden for residents, which he highlighted throughout the presentation, citing Lethbridge as the second-highest tax jurisdiction in Alberta.

The review also urged the city to look at restructuring Human Resources, I.T. and Facility Services as well as reviewing the number of city facilities to reduce maintenance costs.

READ MORE: Lethbridge operational spending is ‘unsustainable:’ CFIB report

Strain emphasized the suggestions are still just suggestions, and that no operational decisions have been made.

“There’s analytics, there’s data, the information is there, so this is fact-based,” Strain said.

“That said, fact-based [findings] will be overlaid with community and political needs and desires.”

The report on Phase 1 of the three-year operational review is now available on the city’s website.

Council will discuss the suggestions at the next council meeting on Nov. 25.