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City Seeking to Improve Senior Services, Reduce Budget Requirement

City of Medicine Hat administration is looking to gather information and further explore how to better serve our community’s growing seniors population, promoting both community vibrancy and financial sustainability.

In August 2016, staff were directed by City Council to examine alternative models, along with associated operating costs, as part of the Seniors Centre Development Project. The planned work will help improve the selection and quality of programming offered and determine if an alternate governance and operating model is better positioned to deliver services, and do so in a way that reduces the need for contribution from the tax base.

The annual cost of operating the Veiner and Strathcona Centres is $1.42 million. Considering an alternative operating model will help ensure taxpayer dollars are managed prudently, Mastel said. The City is facing increased financial pressure on a number of fronts, and reviewing the efficiency and effectiveness of services and operating models is a key component of the City’s Financially Fit initiative.

A presentation will occur at the Public Services Committee meeting on Tuesday, October 1, highlighting recommendations to:

expand service offerings,

consult with community members to identify what services are best suited to the needs of current and future seniors,

explore whether another operator is better able to deliver services.

More than one-third of all City residents are over the age of 50. In 25 years, seniors will make up half of the city’s population.

The proposed timeline would see community consultation in the fall, exploration and evaluation of alternative models over the winter and a recommendation brought forward to Council in the spring of 2020.

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