POA office shows excellent track record

After being downloaded to the municipality in September, 2000, the Provincial Offences Administration (POA) office has proven to be one of the most effective in the province, POA co-ordinator Donna Anderson told council Monday night.
“59.6 percent of our cases are settled prior to trial, so they’re paid prior to anything actually having to take place, which is the third-highest in the province,” Anderson noted.
“And we have the absolute lowest trial rate in the province of 2.9 percent, so our cases are being settled before it comes to that state,” she added.
“I know in Toronto, they’re having a lot of difficulty with their trial rate. They’re very high, and a lot of cases get thrown out due to the volume.
“I think we have a better handle on our situation that way,” she remarked.
Anderson said the POA office, which initially was located in the courthouse here and funded through the Ministry of the Attorney General, saw 2,800 new cases after its first full year in 2001.
This has since jumped to between 4,000 and 5,000 cases per year.
Anderson said that according to former OPP S/Sgt. Hugh Dennis, this is because the local OPP detachment reached its full complement of officers shortly after the POA office moved.
She also noted that when the POA office here was downloaded to the town, it carried with it an accounts receivable of $1.1 million.
About half of this has been collected in the past five years, she added, which is a very good success rate given some of the offenders owing live in the United States.
While the main focus of the POA office is the collection of fines owing by those charges under the Provincial Offences Act, Anderson and the other three local staff members (Jody Matynuik, Ron Scofield, and Marg Katona) also manage POA cases, schedule trials, and provide court reporting and prosecution for POA court four times a month (twice here, once in Atikokan, and once in Rainy River).
In other business at Monday night’s meeting, council:
•authorized a call for proposals for project management services for the museum heritage tourism project;
•approved a report to ensure the town begins the process of completing a source water protection plan for its raw water supply (the first step will be to enter into an agreement with the province and apply for a grant to complete a pre-screening assessment);
•refused a request to waive the Townshend Theatre rental fees of $250 for the women’s health symposium to be held there May 13 (this is per the recommendation of the Administration and Finance executive committee, in accordance with council policy not to waive fees for facility rentals);
•agreed to a recommendation from the Administration and Finance executive committee to approve a $1,000 grant increase for the Fort Frances “Meals on Wheels” program; and
•agreed to the recommendation of the Administration and Finance executive committee regarding Atikokan’s request for an amendment to the Northwest Mobility Operating Agreement (this amendment is to change the name from “Township of Atikokan” to “Atikokan Enercom”).