POA board sees improved finances

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GORE BAY—The Provincial Offences Act (POA) board received welcome  news during its June 21 virtual meeting. The POA board had been earlier forced to seek emergency funding from municipalities as the pandemic had led to a perfect storm of decreased fine revenues and massive increases in court-associated costs to deal with pandemic restrictions. The funding was needed to ensure the POA payroll could be met.

Thanks to an 11th hour injection of funds by Island municipalities, the POA was able to weather the immediate financial crisis and there may well be clear skies ahead thanks to several improvements coming into the picture.

Although the POA had investigated dropping the early resolution as that process appeared to only be adding costs it was decided to continue offering that option. That decision was borne out, as POA manager Pam Fogal noted that only two out of 12 cases that had gone to early resolution proceeded to court. Those early resolutions of tickets helped to dramatically reduce court costs.

The POA also learned that the Manitoulin OPP detachment would be seeing the addition of six new officers over the next few months which would likely be providing a steadier stream of fines flowing onto the books.

“This is good news for a change,” said POA chair Derek Stephens, who noted that the POA normally does not require infusion of municipal funds to keep running in the black.

While the POA financials presented to the board still showed a $560.95 deficit for the second quarter, the red ink was a decidedly big improvement over the first quarter’s $1,357.03. If that upward trend continues to play out, the 2022 budgeted deficit of $23,385 may not materialize as projected.