Medicine Hat Minute: Provincial Budget, Bylaw Misstep, and Limiting Investment Risk
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
There will be a Regular Meeting of City Council on Monday at 3:45 pm. As usual, the meeting begins with a closed session and won’t open up to the public until 6:30 pm. Council will consider replacing the existing Capital Debt Management Policy with a new Debt Management Policy intended to reflect the City’s entire debt obligations and not just capital debt obligations. Council will also revisit the smoking and vaping bylaw after Councillors sent it back to Administration for clarity revisions.
- On Wednesday, at 2:30 pm, there will be a meeting of the likely soon-to-be-disbanded Municipal Planning Commission. There is no agenda available for this meeting yet.
- Applications for the Community Vibrancy Grant are now open. The Grant is intended for non-profit organizations with a project or event that emphasizes and celebrates the community, promotes activities that contribute to the quality of life in Medicine Hat, or promotes a sense of belonging, vibrancy, or enthusiasm in the community. Applications are open until March 31st.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
The Province released its 2023-26 budget and included a capital funding project for Medicine Hat – the replacement of St. Francis Xavier School. The Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education plans to consolidate three schools, St. Mary’s, St. Michael’s, and St. Francis Xavier, under one new building that will provide students with several new facilities to enhance learning, pending government approval of the design funding process. The board hopes to receive final numbers and details from the government in the coming weeks, with full funding required before construction can begin.
- The City made a misstep in updating its bylaws for setting default natural gas prices, resulting in a $485,000 rebate for customers without fixed-price contracts. The new formula for calculating the local Regulated Rate Option was left out of the bylaws passed last December, leading to the City reverting to its previous practice of setting the default price at the average of province-wide prices. The City's previous formula will apply retroactively to January 1st and a rebate will appear as a credit on utility bills.
- The City has chosen to switch from the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) as its long-term money manager, instead opting for private investment firms that they claim can offer better returns with no additional risk. This decision came after a review was launched to update expectations for the City's $375 million portfolio following volatile markets in 2020 and 2021.
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