Medicine Hat Minute: CARe Funding, Stampede Request, and an Electricity Rate Reduction
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
There will be a City Council meeting this afternoon at 3:45 pm. The meeting begins with a closed session, where Council will privately discuss the structure of Council meetings and an intergovernmental affairs matter. Once the meeting opens up to the public, Council will discuss a funding request from the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede (MHES) for a $37.5 million project involving a grandstand renovation and a 500-seat multi-use/event room. MHES is seeking 40% of the funding from the Province, 40% from the City, and a 20% interest-free loan from the City for the remainder. The recommendation on the table is that Council withhold any action until MHES provides detailed financial projections, a business plan, a 10-year capital expenditure plan for their facilities, and a repayment plan for the loan. Council will also look to ratify two 10-year lease agreements, one with the Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club and the other with the Connaught Golf Club. The rent charged to the golf clubs would be $1 per year, provided that the Clubs make an annual investment of $37,000 in capital improvements to the leased property.
- The Corporate Services Committee will meet on Thursday at 4:30 pm. No agenda is available for this meeting yet.
- On Saturday, the annual Remembrance Day program begins at 9:30 am at the Esplanade main theatre. A march along First Street to the Cenotaph at Riverside Veterans Memorial Park will follow, along with an 11:00 am service. If you want to pick up a poppy before the service, the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual poppy campaign is underway. Booths are located at Canadian Tire, Walmart, the Medicine Hat Mall, and the South Country Co-op locations at Northlands and 13th Avenue.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
The temporary electricity rate reduction has taken effect and the rate has dropped eight cents. Council approved this "best-of-market rate" in October and will ensure that the rate remains between 7 and 11 cents per kilowatt hour until further actions are taken in December. Additionally, the City introduced a cost relief program, offering retroactive discounts to residents and businesses, and initiated a review of its energy business unit to ensure it provides the best value for the community.
The Community Assisted Response (CARe) program in Medicine Hat, which diverted emergency mental health calls from the police, said they are planning to seek potential expansion and recurring funding in the next provincial budget. The program shut down in the fall due to a lack of funding after unsuccessfully lobbying the City for money. Council denied the request on the basis of the work crossing into areas of provincial jurisdiction. The program, which operated on a one-year $451,000 grant, successfully handled low- and medium-risk mental health calls and welfare checks, with the goal of "decriminalizing" mental health emergencies.
- Mayor Linnsie Clark said there haven't been any discussions with the City-owned utility company regarding the carbon tax. Both the provincial UCP and NDP criticized the federal government's decision to temporarily exempt home heating oil from the carbon tax - a move that really only benefits Atlantic Canada, as most everyone else in the country uses natural gas for home heating. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said his government would direct their public utility - SaskEnergy - to stop collecting the carbon tax on all forms of home heating if Ottawa doesn't apply their exemption equally. Clark says the issue is a matter for the federal government and provinces to resolve.
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