First is wasteful spending. The city owns lots of facilities and equipment it shouldn’t. Things like paving units and vacuum trucks can be contracted locally and cost less in the end. Having buildings and equipment we don’t absolutely have to own always come with a pile of costs. Maintenance, Insurance, utilities, payroll and may other things. This would boost locally economy, increase the tax base from the sold buildings all while saving the city money. Second it the city’s attitude. Many business didn’t start in the city or left because those working in the city make every effort to stop them, especially if that business isn’t some they would support personally. They have the no attitude and it is killing business. I tried to open mine in the city and got shot down when the permit guy found a random cop to say it was too dangerous. Police have no say in business, but they did that day. Also, city inspectors have told businesses that things are done exactly as they say with no compromise or find somewhere else operate. Third is branding and promoting the city as “open for business”. Cutting red tape and revising bylaws that prevent business is a good place to start. Making the city an attractive place to live and work though quality services, working hard with business attraction and retention.
Accelerated Financially Fit needs to continue to close the revenue gap (since world commodity prices dropped out). The Recreational Master Plan needs community input before the next council can make long term decisions on facilities.
I believe our biggest issue currently is rash and quick decisions it’s like we’ve taken the stance of we can always apologize later. Except for some of these things are not gonna be fixable so we need to slow down and make good sound decisions with the moment of the community.
Medicine Hat is still living by an outdate brand/mantra, “slow growth is good growth.” Given the changing economic outlook and status in the province and country, I believe municipalities are becoming increasingly competitive with one another. Medicine Hat should be no different, we need to change our brand. Geographically speaking we are within a three-hour drive of one of the most aggressive entrepreneurial markets on the continent, Calgary. They have positioned themselves as a go to market for business development and economic growth, all while our current and existing council failed to change course to adapt to the increased competition for investment and population growth. As a city, we’ve scared away new investment with outdated tactics, stagnant population growth, and high taxation gap. If elected, I would move to review all fees the city currently charges, such as but not limited to permit costs for locals, utilities administration fees, etc, to bring them in line and slightly below other local municipalities. Doing this can spark local growth of entrepreneurialism, and investment. With the current heading, Medicine Hat is expected to have its population growth decrease from 0.8% to just 0.6% by 2050, and only a 0.5% YOY growth rate. The old mantra of “slow growth is good growth” I believe has stifled our mindset as a city towards population growth and by consequence, taxation vs. services. Meaning the population and businesses we have, pay more, thus making the Hat less desirable. This creates an infinite loop that plays out worse every time the loop completes itself. To stay relevant in the Southern Alberta Municipal landscape, Medicine Hat needs to be growing at a rate of 1.3 to 2.1%. Local examples of this are Lethbridge, Brooks, and Calgary which are growing at rates of 1.5, 1.64, and 1.9% last year respectively. We need to show we are open for business, and we are worth relocating to. Population growth is the key to making this possible, and vital for the Hat to change its brand when it comes to prosperity and growth.
There are probably to many to list so I will list a couple, the closure of pools and rinks and transit. We need to keep our rinks and pools in our neighborhoods. I believe that the multiplex ice surface is a is not going to be city owned but a private group building it. If this happens the cost of ice rental will go up for all citizens and minor hockey. I can not support a privately owned multiplex. Transit is another issue , buses start late in the morning and don’t run late enough at night. Both transit and parks and recreation are money losers fir any city. They are a service to the citizens and should be available to as my citizens as possible.
From a civic perspective, the biggest challenge is growth, both in commerce and in population. We have many advantages that can be leveraged: the people who live here, utilities, sports and cultural venues, road and rail access, the College, Medalta, airport, parks and recreation facilities, water, sunshine, and, yes, the Tigers. We need to sell these advantages to outside investors, while retaining and allowing existing local companies to grow. Taxation and assessment, red tape reduction, offsite levies, planning and building costs, lessening complexity in dealing with the city, can all be done to attract business. Population and jobs are intertwined but certainly we can work on immigrants and items like reaching out to those who work remotely and have a desire to live in a smaller city.