Costs continue to escalate
AMHERST - Amherst wants the province to complete a review of policing services in Nova Scotia in light of escalating costs.
"The costs of municipal policing are increasing at an alarming rate. These rising costs call into question the sustainability of municipal policing services," Deputy Mayor Dale Fawthrop said during Amherst council's June session last night.
The town's resolution is being forwarded to the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities asking the organization to make the request of the province. The review would include the nature of services provided by municipal units, the level of services and the agencies providing the services.
Amherst's police budget is about $3.8 million, representing a significant chunk of the town's $16-million budget.
Mayor Robert Small said the town is feeling the pressure of rising policing costs and he raised the issue during a meeting earlier this month with Justice Minister Ross Landry. The mayor said it doesn't appear as though the town has a strategy or plan in place to deal with escalating policing costs.
"If the municipalities want the province to do something, they need the support of the UNSM," Small said.
Fawthrop said the problem is not only Amherst's. He said many municipal units are facing the same pressures and it's not a question of municipal policing versus the RCMP.
"All municipal units are facing increasing policing costs. In some cases it represents 25 per cent of the budget, and many small communities can't afford it," Fawthrop said.
Fawthrop said the town wants the province to look policing and look for ways to that municipal units can alleviate some of the pressure they are facing.