By J.W. Schnarr
Fixing a glitch in the system, which saw RCMP fine revenue being funneled into Town of Taber coffers, has caused a surge in revenue for the Municipal District of Taber this year.
The issue was discussed as part of M.D. financial discussions with Brian Badura, manager of finance, during a regular council meeting.
“Fines are up significantly, just over $60,000, as compared to $20,000 last year,” he said.
Municipal Administrator Derrick Krizsan said the issue was first discovered several years ago by then-commanding officer of the Taber and Vauxhall RCMP Sgt. Tom Cooke. During the meeting, Reeve Brian Brewin also named Cooke as the man responsible for spotting the error.
“In all honesty it was (Sgt.) Cooke who said it was a recording glitch that had RCMP fine revenue flowing into Taber and now is going to the M.D. of Taber,” said Brewin. “It was just a recording glitch that he brought to our attention, so we certainly appreciate him bringing that up,” said Brewin.
Under a section used to identify the municipality the tickets were issued, tickets listed as being from “Taber” would end up as revenue for the town, while tickets marked “M.D. of Taber” would end up in M.D. coffers. Krizsan said the change occurred within the last 18 months, and has been a noticeable difference in M.D. revenue.
The change has also been implemented to M.D. bylaw tickets issued, and covers traffic infractions as well as weights and measures fines, which can be significant in themselves.
A single violation from an overloaded vehicle can earn a ticket worth many thousands of dollars.
Fines generated from tickets issued for municipal bylaw infractions and tickets on municipal roadways are supposed to go 100 per cent back to the M.D., who incur the cost of maintaining a bylaw position and court costs related to prosecution of guilty parties.
“There’s been a number of fairly significant tickets issued,” said Krizsan.
Krizsan said the M.D. is still looking in to how long fine revenues have been going to the Town of Taber, but admitted recouping the lost revenue might prove to be difficult.
Additionally, he said it could take a few years of tracking before the M.D. might gain any insight in to just how much money might have been lost. Council is not privy to exactly where tickets are issued, only they’ve been issued within the M.D.
“I would suspect it would be difficult to retrieve that revenue,” said Krizsan. “But moving forward, we’ve got our ducks in a row.”
Calls to the town for comment were not returned.