A relieved Mayor Rajko Dodic said this year's provincial budget will give the City of Lethbridge roughly the same amount of funding through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI).
"I'm very happy about the $16 million for the MSI capital program," Dodic told media Friday.
The City of Lethbridge gets about $16 million a year for capital costs and $1 million for operational costs from the MSI. Budget 2013 does include some changes to the operational side but that won't affect the city until 2014.
"There were some significant changes, though, to the education requisitions for the non-residential properties," he said.
The province has asked the city to collect two per cent more from the education portion of the property tax bill for residential properties, an amount that Dodic said will be covered by growth so homeowners shouldn't see any changes to the education part of their tax bill.
"The non-residential property tax increases have gone up by 18 per cent for the education portion," Dodic said.
As a result, non-residential taxpayers may see an increase of about four to five per cent to their total bill, provided their assessments are about the same. Other municipalities were hit harder, he said, pointing to Wood Buffalo where the increase is 47 per cent across the board.
"For the most part the budget has left Lethbridge fairly well intact, from a municipal point of view," Dodic said.
The changes to the operational side of the MSI grant, which the city uses for street lighting, will mean about $400,000 less revenue next year and $800,000 the year after that, money the city will have to get some other way, likely through taxes. But if money from another grant can be used the effect could be minimized.
The provincial budget also contained roughly the same amount of funds for Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). The funds flow to non-profit agencies that provide prevention and intervention programs to individuals, families and communities.
"Of course you've got inflation that's impacting on those numbers so if you're giving the same amount of money year to year to year clearly there's going to be a degradation of services and there's going to be people wanting someone else to step up to the plate to make up the shortfall," Dodic said.
On a larger scale, the city as a whole will feel the trickle-down effects of the province's budget as funding to school districts won't be increased this year and funding was cut to post-secondary institutions.