May 27th, 2024

Group formed by disgruntled power price customers to hold launch party tonight

By Medicine Hat News on April 30, 2024.

@MedicineHatNews

A group angered by high energy prices last summer plans to layout an ongoing campaign to scrutinize finances at the city tonight.

The Medicine Hat Utility Ratepayers Association “launch party” will be held tonight at the grandstand room at the Stampede Grounds beginning at 7 p.m.

It has called for city council to scrap the municipal consent and access fee on utility bills and for councillors to reverse tax increases and instead use power plant revenue to balance to the budget.

The city financial plan for several years has been to build reserve funds to the point they can provide a “sustainable” recurring dividend from investment earnings to subsidize taxes.

In recent correspondence, the group has also been critical of city financial results, and has also asked for more information about the city’s potential plans to meet net-zero requirements in the utility division.

At initial city budget discussions for 2025-26, held last week, administrators told council members they expect power profits to fall back sharply in the next several years and that reserve balances totalling $750 million may be stressed to cover municipal infrastructure replacement, new recreation spending and meet requirements to keep the utility competitive.

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