June 1, 2020
Director of Emergency Management, Merrick Brown, provided City Council an update on the City’s COVID-19 response. The City activated the Municipal Emergency Management plan on March 13 and has since worked closely with Alberta Health Services to support their leadership during the pandemic response. Mr. Brown reviewed the timeline of City-related activities that have occurred during the pandemic and spoke to Province of Alberta’s relaunch strategy and the implications for the City of Medicine Hat as well as the need to continue to prepare for the possibility of a second event such as a flood.
General Manager of Finance, Lola Barta, provided a presentation on 2020 Municipal Property Tax. Ms. Barta advised Council that though a property tax increase of 3.5% was approved in December, a COVID credit will be applied to all tax accounts for the 2020 year, resulting in a slight decrease from 2019 property tax bills.
A 2020 Construction Season Community Update was shared by the commissioners offering a high-level summary of significant construction projects that the community can expect to see in 2020. A complete list of City construction projects can be found at https://www.medicinehat.ca/home/showdocument?id=17636.
Through Public Services Committee, City Council approved the redirection and pooling of unallocated 2020 Special Cultural Events Assistance Grant, Community Development Grant and Special Events/Competition Assistance Grant funding to create a new one-time grant funding program to better meet community circumstances and needs being experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new grant program will be brought forward for Council approval and will combine the principles of the existing grant funding, including fostering community spirit, celebrating local achievement, and promoting community development in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also through Public Services committee, Council received the Medicine Hat Public Library Annual Report for information.
Through Administrative Committee, Council received for information an update on credit card payment options to assist and educate City of Medicine Hat customers. Currently, City of Medicine Hat utility, taxation and accounts receivable customers are able to make credit card payments to the City through the online website www.paysimply.ca. PaySimply is a secure, third-party Canadian payment provider that has partnered with the City’s banking merchant to provide a user pay solution to customers who prefer to pay by credit card.
Through Administrative Committee, City Council approved a budget amendment to reallocate budget funding for the Water Treatment Residuals Management Facility project originally approved by Council on December 17, 2018 as part of the four-year budget. The amendment will allocate funding in a single budget year to support eligibility for federal funding, the Investing in Canadian Infrastructure Program (ICIP). ICIP funding is available for 40% of the total project costs, as long as 33% funding is also identified from a provincial source. An Alberta Capital Financing Authority (ACFA) submission will be submitted for $26.5M and ACFA requires the capital project and the $26.5M funding to be approved in a single budget year to remain eligible for ACFA funds.
City Council received for information the April 8, 2020 minutes of the Municipal Planning Commission meeting.
City Council approved 1st reading of the following bylaws:
- Bylaw #4619, a Bylaw of the City of Medicine Hat to amend Bylaw #4168, the City of Medicine Hat Land Use Bylaw. The amendment will re-designate 1108 7th Street SW, Plan 771 0675 from Mixed Use District to Direct Control to support the development of a new Cannabis Production and Distribution Facility in Medicine Hat.
- Bylaw #4624, a Bylaw of the City of Medicine Hat to incur indebtedness in the amount of Seven Million Eighty-Two Thousand Dollars ($7,082,000) for the purpose of 2020 Water Treatment Plant Residuals Management Facility (see earlier budget amendment item.)
- Bylaw #4628, a Bylaw of the City of Medicine Hat to amend Bylaw #4168, the City of Medicine Hat Land Use Bylaw. The amendment will allow the Environmental Utilities department to acquire land from the Parks & Recreation (P&R) department for a materials storage yard.
City Council approved 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading of the following bylaws:
- Bylaw #4621, a Bylaw of the City of Medicine Hat to authorize Council to impose a property tax for the year 2020 and to exempt certain property from taxation for the year 2020.
- Bylaw #4622, a Bylaw of the City of Medicine Hat to authorize the Council of the City to impose a 2020 supplementary property tax.
- Bylaw #4623, a Bylaw of the City of Medicine Hat to provide for the rate of tax payable for the year 2020 in respect of the City Centre Development Area.
- Bylaw #4631, a Bylaw of the City of Medicine Hat to amend Bylaw #3302, the Tax Instalment Payment Plan Bylaw.
Through resolution, City Council approved a recommendation from the Administrative Committee and Corporate Services committee to provide customers with a temporary option to pay 2020 property taxes in full, directly to the City, by credit card on or before August 21, 2020. The choice is being added both to encourage full payment of property taxes and as a gesture of goodwill to increase payment options available to customers during the COVID-19 situation.
|Next City Council meeting to be held in City Hall Council Chambers
Monday, June 15, 2020 at 6:30 PM
City Council Meeting Highlights is an informal summary of the information presented to, and decisions made by, Medicine Hat City Council at its regular meetings. Click here to view official meeting minutes.