Going to the pound

Cars sit in an impound lot south of Prince Albert. The city is looking at creating its own impound lot, which could generate up to $500,000 in annual revenue. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Changes could be coming to impound lot fees as the City of Prince Albert weighs the pro’s and con’s of creating an impound to program.

On Monday, city councillors approved a motion calling for the implementation and development of such a program. It must receive formal approval at a future city council meeting.

Currently, vehicles towed for parking infractions are stored in a fenced lot at the airport. The Prince Albert Police Service also has a contract with a private contractor to tow all PAPS vehicles and house them at an impound lot south of the city.

The program would be based on the Prince Albert Police Department’s impound lot program, and could generate between $375,000 and $500,000 a year in revenue.

“We looked at the numbers in the police budget (and) this private contractor has been paying the police $6,500 a month,” said Steve Brown, the city’s director of financial services. “One asks what kind of revenue that private contractor was generating if they can fork out, to the city, almost $80,000 a year?”

Brown told councillors most of the infrastructure is already in place to start the program. The costs would run up to $15,000 annually, along with a one-time capital expenditure of $50,000.

As part of the program, the city’s traffic bylaw would be amended to increase the impounded vehicle fee from $10 per day to $25 per day. Residents currently pay $40 per day for vehicles impounded with the police department’s private contractor.

The city could also apply to become an authorized garage keeper under SGI’s impound lot program, which would further increase revenue.

The motion received little pushback from city councillors, with some even asking if it was too good to be true.

“This is a big win-win,” Ward 7 Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky said during the meeting. “The city makes a lot of extra money, so we can afford to pave streets and parking lots.”

Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp was one of only two councillors to express reservations about the program. Although voted in favour of it, Lennox-Zepp was hesitant to raise impound fees to $25 per day.

“I’m going to support the motion, including (raising impound fees) at this time, however it might be something we want to revisit in the future,” she said.

The motion will now head to a regular council meeting for formal approval. If ratified, the program will begin operations on Jan. 1, 2018.

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca