Collections

The City of Medicine Hat relies on the responsible collection of funds owing in order to provide the services and infrastructure on which our residents rely.

The Collections team works to recover utility, taxation and general accounts receivable revenue and will take appropriate action as necessary to collect the balance in full. The Alberta Municipal Government Act (MGA) and City of Medicine Hat bylaws provide the legislative authority to impose collection activity.

Accounts receivable collection

Account payments are due the last business day of the month following. The due date is indicated on the invoice as "please pay by" date.

All overdue bills are levied a monthly finance charge based on an interest rate of 1.5% compounded interest, in accordance with the Unpaid General Accounts Bylaw #1981.

A payment is considered overdue 31 days from the invoice date.  An overdue balance reminder notice (monthly statement) is mailed at the end of each month. A monthly statement for an invoice more that 30 days overdue will have a message indicating Account Overdue as well as Contact Collections 403-529-8113.

If an invoice is more than 60 days overdue, you'll see a message indicating the account has been suspended until full payment is made. Services (like the use of the landfill, meals on wheels delivery, etc.) will be declined until payment is received.

Any invoice more than 90 days overdue may be listed with an outside collection agency.

The City of Medicine Hat has the right of off-set, meaning: if the City of Medicine Hat owes you money, and you owe the City of Medicine Hat money, payment to you will be reduced by that amount.

Please allow five business days for processing if paying at a financial institution or by mail.

Recovering overdue taxes

The City of Medicine Hat follows the Municipal Government Act in regard to tax recovery and must take action to collect overdue taxes.

Please consider the Tax Arrears Payment Plan (TAPP) if you are behind on your property tax payments.

We recognize that land or property represents a significant investment for most Albertans. The Municipal Government Act (MGA) is drafted on the principal of protecting people's interests in their properties.

Tax recovery

In March of each year, the City prepares a list of all parcels of land and manufactured homes that are more than one year in arrears (overdue) on their property tax.

This list is sent to the Registrar at the Land Titles Office and a tax notification is registered on the Certificate of Title for the property. In the case of a manufactured home, a tax lien is registered.

Once a tax notification or tax lien is registered, the person who is liable to pay the taxes must not remove any improvements for which taxes can be levied and for which that person is responsible.

If the tax arrears are not paid by March 31 of the following year, the municipality can offer the parcel for sale at public auction. The City of Medicine Hat allows the maximum time allotted by the Municipal Government Act and holds the tax sale auction on the last business day of March (2 years after the tax notification or tax lien was registered).

Anyone can pay the tax arrears owing against the property and the municipality will remove the tax notification or tax lien. All property owners in arrears are encouraged to sign up for the Tax Arrears Payment Plan (TAPP). Payments under the plan will be calculated so that the property arrears are paid in full prior to being offered for tax sale auction.

Tax sale auction

The March 31, 2022 tax sale has been cancelled. Please check back for a list of available auction properties in March 2023.

Tax sale is a public auction of properties within a municipality which have outstanding property taxes for more than two years. The City of Medicine Hat follows the Municipal Government Act in regard to tax recovery, which allows for the recovery of unpaid property taxes by selling properties in tax arrears at a public tax sale auction.

The tax sale is held annually on the last business day in March at 9 a.m. in Boardroom M1 in City Hall, 580 First Street SE, Medicine Hat. Properties to be sold at tax sale are advertised in the Alberta Gazette in February and in the Medicine Hat News in March. The reserve bid is set by council and is the lowest amount for which a property may be sold. The reserve bid is determined using fair market value of the property. A list of properties being offered for tax sale will be posted on the internet by March 1.

The property owner has until 9 a.m. on the day of tax sale to pay the tax arrears on their property to avoid being auctioned at the tax sale. The highest bid above the reserve bid is declared the purchaser. If there is no bid, or no bid equal to the reserve bid, the municipality may become the owner of the property. The successful bidder must pay at time of auction a 10% non-refundable deposit with the balance of funds by cash, cheque or bank draft within 24 hours.

How to remove your property from the tax sale auction

Prior to the public auction of properties, the City follows an extensive notification process. If your property is included on the public auction listing, you must pay the full outstanding balance on your property tax account before the auction date to be removed from the sale.

For further information, please contact collections at 403-529-8113 or email us.

Utilities collection

Utility disconnection

When your utility account is 60 days past due, you will receive a disconnect warning letter. The fee is $20.00, and will be applied to your account.

The disconnect warning letter allows you 10 days to either make payment or sufficient payment arrangements with collections.

If payment arrangements are made with collections, but not kept, disconnection without notice will occur.

Utility reconnection

Payment of utility arrears, disconnect and reconnect fees must be paid in full by 3 p.m. for a same day reconnect.

A deposit equal to two times your average utility bill may be required on your account if one does not already exist.

Payment must be made by cash, debit or credit card prior to reconnection.

Credit cards are accepted ONLY on disconnect warnings and disconnected accounts.

If the account is not reconnected prior to winter limiters being installed, then gas and water will also be disconnected to prevent pipes freezing and property damage.

Winter limiters

Limiters are used during the winter months (October 15 to April 15).

The City of Medicine Hat uses virtual limiters. A virtual limiter is not a physical piece of equipment. The electric meter can be limited remotely. If too much electricity is used at one time, the power will be completely disconnected for 15 minutes. It cannot be reset by the resident. After 15 minutes, the load limiting will reset automatically. The customer will need to turn off the sources that would have exceeded the amp load during these 15 minutes. If the load is still over 16 amps, there will be 59 seconds of power and then it will be off again for another 15 minutes cycle.

Financial assistance

If your electricity, gas or water have been disconnected or are about to be disconnected there are financial resources available to assist. Please contact our office and we can refer you to the correct support agencies.

It is VERY important that if you're having financial troubles and are unable to pay your bills that you keep in touch with the Collections Team to make payment arrangements.

Financial supports include:

  • Alberta Works - Emergency Assistance for Albertans Facing Utility Disconnection, 1-866-644-5135
  • Community Warmth - funding is limited with approximately $2,100 available each month. To apply, please email us or phone 403-529-8113.