LETHBRIDGE, AB – Great news for Lethbridge tax payers within Alberta’s newest budget.

The zero-percent tax increase approved by City Council back in December as part of their 2021-22 operating budget will still become a reality.

Mayor Chris Spearman says there was some uncertainty, at the time, about the provincial education portion of the tax bill. However, that actually won’t be changing at all this year, according to the budget that was tabled last week.

“We were concerned that there would be a misunderstanding if people, generally, got tax bills this year that showed increases, after we told them that our tax increases at the municipal level were zero,” he told local media last week. “About 25% of your municipal tax bill is actually the education tax. So, keeping that the same should mean that there won’t be tax increases for Lethbridge residents.”

Even with that positive news, though, Spearman says he does have concerns when it comes to mental health and addiction supports in the future.

“We do need to move forward with supportive housing projects. Our homeless shelter is overrun… I am concerned about the supportive housing project, the $11.1-million that was announced two years ago… I would anticipate we’re going to struggle with social issues until the supports are in place.”

He adds that other projects, like the Exhibition Park expansion and airport renovations, will still be going ahead. However, Council will need to be financially responsible when choosing large projects to include in its upcoming Capital Improvement Program with a significant reduction in investments from the government.