The City of Prince Albert will now be utilizing Small Claims Court to seek financial compensation for damages done to City property after Mayor Greg Dionne said that taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder the cost of repairs.
Dionne explained that when someone who has damaged City property is criminally convicted, he writes letters to the Crown asking for compensation for repairs or replacements but it’s not always considered a high priority to them.
“If I remember roughly last year, Community Services paid out about $100,000 in damages and that’s a big amount,” said Dionne. “I think it’s important as leaders in our community that we’re prudent and if we catch these people doing damage to our property, we hold them accountable.”
He put forward a motion during Monday’s City Council meeting that suggested the City Solicitor utilize Small Claims Court for compensation for the full costs of repairs of damaged property when the person doing the damages is identified.
City Solicitor, Mitch Holash, said taking those individuals who commit property damage to Small Claims Court is feasible and a summons can easily be created by his office, but the biggest issue would be locating the person responsible.
“Sometimes these persons are underage or they may be migrant and may be difficult to find, but if they can be located, with assistance perhaps by the City police, we can serve them,” said Holash.
He mentioned that in many occasions, if the individual does not show up to their hearing, a default judgment can be granted.
“I would suggest that it’s worth the undertaking to see how it goes,” said Holash.
The motion passed unanimously, Holash said he will report back to Council with any inefficiencies or lack of success he finds during the process.