Council Highlights January 15 2024

This summary provides a brief overview of City Council meetings and does not reflect all discussion and debate. For full details, download the agenda package or watch the full meeting on the City of Medicine Hat’s YouTube channel.

Managing Director Pat Bohan introduced the new City Planner and Director of Planning and Development Services, John Popoff.

Under Councillor Announcements:

  • Councillor Hirsch offered comments related to the recent province-wide emergency alert as well as alerts from the Alberta Electricity System Operator (AESO) requesting Albertans limit electricity consumption during the extreme cold temperatures. He confirmed that AESO has jurisdiction in these circumstances and can technically direct Medicine Hat to reduce local load to stabilize the provincial grid. However, the City was able to satisfy all the electrical needs of our community and send electricity to the grid, so it would be unlikely AESO would direct the City of Medicine Hat to implement rotating brownouts locally.
  • Councillor Van Dyke also offered gratitude to local services, including Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS), that work outdoors and keep people safe during these extreme cold conditions, as well as offering thanks to the electric generation and distribution workers who ensure our power supply is secure.
  • Councillor Dumanowski offered congratulations and thank you to the MHPS, which celebrated its 125-year anniversary on January 13.

City Council adopted the following items into the corporate record:

  • Development and Infrastructure Committee Meeting Minutes of December 7, 2023
  • Public Services Committee Meeting Minutes of December 11, 2023 

City Council received the following items for information:

  • Development and Infrastructure Outstanding Items of December 7, 2023
  • Public Services Committee Outstanding Items of December 11, 2023
  • Public Notification Process for Development Permits and Rezonings
  • Gas City Roller Derby Association
  • Community Well-Being Plan Update

Under unfinished business:

  • City Council approved a motion to add $40,500 in funding for 2024 Community Vibrancy Grants (One-Year and Two-Year Festivals), funded through Council's Operating Contingency; the distribution of $57,000 in One-Year Festival Grants; and direct Administration to revisit the community funding framework for festival and event funding distribution in the community.

Under Committee Business, Director of Community Development, Leah Prestayko, presented to Council on the Co-op Place operating model, outlining the analysis that has occurred since the City of Medicine Hat took over operations in 2020. Director Prestayko closed the presentation with a recommendation that City Council direct administration to continue operating the facility.

Following the presentation, City Council approved a motion directing the City of Medicine Hat Administration to continue to operate Co-op Place to leverage the successes realized in joint operations of Co-op Place and the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre; and the addition of $263,000 to the 2024 Community Development budget to support staffing and services at Co-op Place and the Esplanade.

Under unfinished business, City Council passed Bylaw 4804, a bylaw to increase the corporate credit card limit with the Bank of Montreal. First reading occurred on December 4, 2023. After 13 years of managing a limit of $1,200,000 the City is now in need of increasing this limit for the following reasons

  • the cost of products and services has increased in recent years as a result of spiking inflation and supply chain issues.
  • 2022 was the first full year of “normal” operations after the pandemic, which is reflected through the card spending.
  • the timing of billing has placed added pressure on the limit as the City’s credit card period runs from the 28th of the month to 27th of the next month. Employees have 5 business days to reconcile their transactions and then payment of the balance owing takes place on the 10th of the following month.

Under new business:

  • Council approved $3,850,000 of additional capital funds for the completion of the Water Treatment Plant Residuals Management Facility.
  • Council approved a motion to postpone the following two motions prepared by Councillor Robins to the February 20 meeting of City Council.
    • direct City Administration to prepare a Capital Project Grant Program for Non-Profit Agencies to create eligibility criteria for Council's review with recommendations about different options for the amount of grant money dedicated to the program and the impact of any loss of investment income to the City.
    • direct City Administration to consult with stakeholders (Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Collective, Medicine Hat Public Library and MHPS Downtown Patrol Unit, Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, Churches and other businesses and social agencies located downtown), research innovative similar programs in other communities and provide a report to Council of options to create a Downtown Enhancement Grant with a goal (if approved by Council) to commence grant application in May 2024.

Committee Meeting Agendas and Minutes

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