Medicine Hat Minute: Utilities Skyrocket, Staff Rotation, and a Fitness Facility Controversy
Medicine Hat Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Medicine Hat politics
This Week In Medicine Hat:
There are two meetings scheduled this week, starting with a City Council meeting today at 6:30 pm. Council will begin this meeting in a familiar fashion, in-camera, receiving several reports from various committees before reverting back to an open meeting. Once the meeting has opened back up to the public, Council will receive presentations from the City Assessor, and the Director of Environment, Land & Government Relations.
- In the same meeting, Council will also debate Bylaw #4692, the Northwest Industrial Area Structure Plan. The City received public feedback on the plan last November and, if passed, it will allow for the development of 958.7 acres of land in northwest Medicine Hat.
- On Thursday, there will be a meeting of the Corporate Services Committee at 11:00 am. No agenda has yet been posted.
Last Week In Medicine Hat:
- Utility bills aren’t the only thing rising in Medicine Hat - calls for the City to revisit how it sets its rates and fees are on the up too. Skyrocketing utility bills have been a popular topic of conversation in recent months. Power prices and natural gas rates, which were set by the City on Tuesday, sit above the average seen in the past few years. The head of Council’s Utility Committee says the issue is due to be discussed, but that any changes can only happen after the public and recently elected Council members have been fully informed on how business is currently done.
- The City’s top administrative position will be filled by a rotation of top City managers until a more permanent option is found. Brian Mastel, Public Services Managing Director, will be delegated as Acting City Manager for the first half of February. Following his tenure, Rochelle Pancoast, head of the City’s Strategic Management and Analysis office, will fill the position until the beginning of March.
- Remember when voters went to the polls and voted for transparency and fiscal accountability? Well, some Council members haven't completely forgotten why they got elected. During last week's Special Meeting of the Public Services Committee, Council questioned why administrators are still proposing building larger regional fitness facilities to replace existing rec centres, when voters clearly rejected the idea during the municipal election. Do you think Council will listen to voters on this one? Or will they opt to build new regional fitness centers as is the preference of City Administrators?
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