RM of Portage council met Tuesday morning to discuss a few things at their office in Portage la Prairie. (Aaron Wilgosh)
The council to the Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie met to discuss 2017’s financial statement, false fire-alarms fines, and rural crime statistics Tuesday morning.
“It’s always better to be in the black than in the red,” says Reeve, Kam Blight. “We always try to put forward an aggressive budget, and administration and public works are always challenged to meet the budget’s requirements.”
The RM of Portage posted a surplus just shy of $300,000 for 2017 thanks to a surplus in the Oakville and Cartier operating funds.
“We’re fortunate enough to have some investment in our municipality which helps,” says Blight. “Burbank Express and other businesses really help out with the added taxes they see. We’re really pleased to see our budget coming out on the right side of things. Life is great in the RM of Portage.”
Rural crime rate study
A Manitoba Member of Parliament has suggested the Feds take a look at rural crime rates in Manitoba including the Rural Municipality of Portage after the issue has been garnering a lot of attention through the media in recent months.
“I think it’s no secret that our municipality has been very concerned about the rural crime we have experienced in the past couple of years,” says Blight. “It’s something we’ve brought to the previous minister of justice with the previous government that was in power and it’s something we continue to highlight with the RCMP and the minister of justice in today’s sitting government.”
Blight goes on to say an assessment like this is something the RM has been pushing, as it’s of concern. The study will be done at the federal level.
False alarm fines
False alarms are no joke to the RM of Portage la Prairie as the council decided they would mirror the city of Portage’s fine structure to ward off unnecessary emergency calls.
“It’s hard because you never want to add fines because sometimes accidents do happen, but we do see some repeat offenders,” says Blight. “Administration reached out to one business to touch base with them so they don’t get caught off guard because maybe there was a good reason for the false alarms.”
The one business had 18 false alarm calls through 2017, something that would have cost them $3,000 under the new fine structure. A $200 fine will be issued for each false alarm after the third call. Blight adds it’s about making sure emergency services are being utilized to their best ability rather than responding to false alarms when a possible emergency is occurring.