February 28th, 2024

New city committee proposed

By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on December 16, 2021.


City council could approve a motion Monday to create a standing emergency management committee that would meet in times of trouble, but at minimum once per year.

Such a committee is a new requirement of the Municipal Government Act, and requires at least three members of council to liaise with emergency management officials to ensure plans are reviewed and updated as required.

A decision item put before the city’s public services committee on Monday proposed aligning once yearly meeting in January with a general meeting of council to ease the ability of all council members to attend.

The city’s emergency management bylaw delineates most authority to administrators with assigned roles during a local state of emergency. That can only be enacted by a signed order of three of the chairs of city standing committees.

Half on e-bills

Fixed utility prices and e-billing are gaining in popularity, city councillors heard at Tuesday’s corporate services committee meeting.

During a general operational update, division head Dennis Egert told the committee that 48.6 per cent of the city’s approximate 27,000 utility customers are now registered to receive bills electronically, rather than by mail.

“Things have certainly changed,” he told council, recalling that when he joined the city in 2014 the figure was six per cent.

“There’s desire to do things this way, perhaps owing to COVID.”

Fixed-rate options for power and gas are also becoming more popular, according to figures from the billing department.

Accounts on the fixed-rate option for commodity totalled 10,861 for power, and 8,265 for gas.

Those rates are set to rise in January for customers who sign on after the December billing period. All existing fixed-rate customers will enjoy at least six months on the rate, either since mid-2021 or with several months in 2022.

Fire ban lifted

With snow and freezing cold temperatures now gripping the city, the final portions of a partial fire ban from the hot dry summer were lifted in Medicine Hat.

Restrictions are now lifted for fire pits in Strathcona Island Park and in Echo Dale Regional Park.

The Medicine Hat Fire Service reminds residents that open fires are only allowed in permitted fire pits in residential areas, and then with caution, while fireworks are not allowed at any time within city limits.

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