Right to ask Portage la Prairie city council questions defended

City of Portage La Prairie council to unveil financial plan
Letter writer invites the public to attend Tuesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. City of Portage La Prairie council meeting at city hall to hear council unveil its 2019 financial plan.

Last year the mayor and council refused to allow questions at the city’s financial plan public hearing. This was a violation of the Municipal Act and they knew it.

This year, initial advertisements for the public hearing (Tuesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. at city hall) stated presentations would be allowed but didn’t say questions would be.

I sent an email to council asking if they would each go on record to answer:

  1. Would questions be allowed?
  2. Would council answer these questions? They have been involved in the budget deliberations and should be able to.

At the September 2016 public hearing, before the motion to spend $258 million for a Wastewater Treatment Plant, council heard questions from citizens but didn’t answer them. This wasn’t appropriate at a hearing, and shameful, given the magnitude of the expenditure.

CAO Peto responded on council’s behalf and said questions will be allowed. I pursued this issue as an important part of our democracy.

If you have concerns about the financial plan and how the money is being spent, please attend.  You have the right to ask a question, voice a concern or make a presentation. I’m concerned about council spending $7 million on a causeway while our streets and water and sewer pipes are in terrible condition. Council claims there’s little money to address these issues.

While the mayor and council had no problem violating the Municipal Act, they ultimately hired the company that recently ticketed many visitors and Portage citizens at a Terriers game. They could have advertised where parking was allowed and issued warnings to educate people. Council wants rules for citizens but doesn’t want to follow their own rules, unless it’s pointed out to them.

It’s your tax dollars they are spending. You have a right to ask questions and state your opinion.

Luanne Anderson

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