City will no longer shut off water nor tow vehicles for unpaid bills and tickets

The City of Prince Albert will no longer shut off water for accounts in arrears, tow vehicles for unpaid fines, or issue parking tickets for expired meters during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The City will still notify residents if their water bill is past due, and is encouraging anyone with an account in arrears to call Prince Albert’s water department to settle the bill.

The changes were part of a series of updates announced on Friday, March 27. The city stopped shutting off water for unpaid accounts on Friday, March 20, but didn’t formally announce the decision until this week.

Prince Albert’s transit service will continue to operate, with high touch surfaces being cleaned after each round. The City has given drivers the authority to refuse entry to riders their bus is too full. The City also says it will honour valid March 2020 bus passes until the end of April.

New monthly bus passes can be purchased at Crescent Heights Pharmacy on Sixth Avenue East, Gray Chemists on 15th Street West, Medical Pharmacy on Central Avenue and PBCN Petro Canada on Second Avenue West.

Although bylaw officers will no longer hand out tickets for expired meters, all other regular parking restrictions are still in place. This includes bans on parking in fire lanes, bus stops, no parking zones or in front of fire hydrants. Residents can also still be ticketed for parking in disability stalls without the proper placard in effect.

The City will also continue to operate its impound lot for vehicles towed by SGI or the Prince Albert Police Service. Anyone looking to pick up their vehicle or retrieve belongings from it can call 1-306-953-4330.

The city’s water meter installation program also remains in place. The City says installers are following proper health and social distancing protocols. Any resident concerned about social distancing can call 1-855-455-3693 to book their appointment at a later date. Residents can call the same number to book an immediate appointment if they wish.

The Prince Albert landfill, cemetery and airport remain open. Garbage and recycling pickup is still in effect.

All non-essential city services were closed last week to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cheryl Tkachuk, Prince Albert’s director of financial services, said it’s too soon to say exactly how the closure will affect the City’s finances, although it definitely won’t be good.

“Similar to other municipalities, revenue and expenses will be impacted and are being reviewed,” Tkachuk wrote in an email. “So far transit revenue will be less due to March passes being extended for April and less ridership.

“We are continuing to evaluate for as long as restrictions remain in place but there are still decisions pending that may impact finances. We will be in a better position in a few weeks to provide comment on this.”

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