by Colin Smith
Crime down slightly in Morinville, RCMP stats show
The incidence of crime was down slightly in Morinville last year, with a total of 772 criminal occurrences versus 778 in 2017.
Sergeant Chris Palfy, commander of the Morinville RCMP detachment, presented the annual figures to Council along with his report for the last quarter of the year.
He said property crime decreased significantly, by 16 per cent, while crime against persons increased slightly, by four per cent.
The greatest increases in persons crime was in uttering threats, which increased from incidences in 2017 to 34 the next year, and sexual assault, which went from 10 to 17 incidences.
In response to questions, Palfry said he believed the rise in uttering threats, both in person and on social media, and sexual assaults were due to increased reporting.
Fire Department rleeases year end stats
The Morinville Fire Department responded to 280 emergencies in 2018 according to the Town of Morinville Quarterly Report.
Of these calls, 159 were within Morinville and 121 outside.
The department responded to 58 fires, including structural, vehicle or outside – brush, grass or forest. Other calls were classified as medical assistance, dangerous goods or other, such as fire alarms, smoke or gas smell, and investigations.
Deputy Mayor wants hazard assessment report of school bus stops
Deputy Mayor Lawrence Giffin has concerns about the safety of the community’s school bus stops. Giffin has given notice that at the March 26 council meeting he intends to make the following motion:
“I move that Council direct Mayor Turner to write a letter to Sturgeon School Division and Greater St. Albert Catholic School Division asking for a comprehensive hazard assessment of all school bus stops, including but not limited to, the assessment of risks, risk reduction measures taken to date, and a listing of current school bus stop locations within the Town of Morinville.”
Dafoe raises question on Council budget
The way Morinville councillor’s budgets are calculated could come in for a change.
The possibility arises from a discussion of the Town of Morinville Quarterly Report at Council’s March 12 regular meeting.
Councillor Stephen Dafoe noted that all members of Council were slightly over on budgeted honorariums, but under on budgeted mileage.
“In the next budget how could we adjust that?” Dafoe asked. “We’re all under on mileage and all over on per diems. Could it be adjusted for next year’s budget?”
CFO Shawna Jason said the 2018 actuals would be factor when creating Council’s 2019 budget.
According to the report, Council expenditures to December 31 totalled $340,000, about 92 per cent of the budgeted $368,000 for the year.
The $28,000 surplus is due mainly to lower public relations and mileage and subsistence costs, which is partially offset by slightly higher wages and benefits.
Town under budget fo r2018
For Town operations as a whole, the 4th quarter financial results indicate a better than budgeted position of about $1 million.
Consolidated revenues for the year total about $19.9 million or 100 per cent of the annual budget. Operating expenses for the year are about $18.2 million, 95 per cent of the annual budget and under budget by about $1 million.
The Town says the positive variance is mainly due to lower contract services and general goods/services, as well as salary/wages/benefits savings due to deferred implementation of projects and new hires, along with unanticipated vacancies.
To date, current year capital project spending totals $1,867,309, 41 per cent of the overall budget. Spending on prior year work in progress capital projects totals $19,579,610. Half of the projects remain as work in progress, with expected completion within the first six months of 2019.
Combined spending to date on the Morinville Community Recreation Facility totals $20,047,393 including construction holdbacks recognized for year-end purposes.