Springhill policing costs too much

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SPRINGHILL – A month after signing a new contract with the Springhill Police Service, the Town of Springhill is already looking at its options.

During it’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Mayor Max Snow called for a motion to build a committee to explore alternate policing services for the community, saying the present contract – which includes a salary increase of 18.5 per cent over four years – requires raising taxes.

“It’s only going to get worse,” Snow said. “We’re going to be into contract dialogue soon and it’s only going to go up again… it’s not that we’re dissatisfied with our police department, I want to make that very clear. We are satisfied with them. It’s just the cost. We have to look at cost and want to dialogue with them to see if there can be a significant adjustment on what’s taking place.”

Contract negotiations between the town and the police force went into arbitration before coming to the January settlement. That settlement has played a role in the town’s decision to forge the committee, according to the mayor and deputy mayor Harold Delaney.

“It was also based on what the province wanted. It was too high. It was too high before the new contract, so the next contract is only going to make it higher,” Delaney said.

“We’re concerned about the tax payers,” Snow said. “We don’t want the taxes up. The townspeople can’t afford that.”

The committee will have to open dialogue, Snow said during council, with the present police force, other municipal police forces and Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry and any and all alternatives will have to be explored, including reduced service or RCMP policing. 

“That, obviously, could be one alternative,” Delaney said.

It’s not an easy decision to move on, Mayor Snow conceded.

“We were elected by the people of this town to make tough decisions on their behalf, therefore we have to do that,” Snow said. “We have to keep our commitment to the townspeople and to our finances within the town and have to make this decision. It’s a tough call. I wish we didn’t even have to go there.”

 

cgooding@citizenrecord.ca

Twitter: @ADNchris

Organizations: Springhill Police Service, RCMP

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Sharon
    March 05, 2013 - 10:18

    The problem with the Town Police is completely separate from taxes not being collected. The problem with the Police is that there are too many for a Town this size! There is no need for all of these constables. The Police must be reduced or bring in the RCMP.

  • rog
    March 04, 2013 - 18:12

    Change the system to regional or reduce police cost by scheduling. Rcmp are a mistake waiting to happen, reduced service, units being sent to other communities, members working on specialized provincial teams and taken off shift at a moments notice. Bottom line reduced service for the same price.

  • seriously
    March 02, 2013 - 23:46

    Get rid of the Springhill police...most people from Springhill I talked all say the same thing. The cops (and I use the term loosely) couldnt catch a cold. Bring the RCMP in...or better yet if someone would buy my house I'll happily leave Springhill. I'm tired of paying outrageous taxes for minimal services.

  • Mike Connors
    February 28, 2013 - 21:17

    In reference to Crazy Canuck; the town can afford to have 24 hour policing if the person in charge of collecting property taxes did his/her job. I can save the taxpayers 75,000 right now. Fire the person in charge of collecting taxes because clearly they are not doing their job. As a taxpayer I'm appalled that my taxes are offsetting 40 percent of the property owners in Springhill. I'm also appalled that my taxes are so high because they are offsetting the other 40 percent who expect the same service but don't wish to pay for it. I think the RCMP is a huge mistake but I would be in favor of a regional force with Amherst where costs can be shared and we still keep 24 hour policing. The RCMP have a history of minimum manning an area and all but disappear after midnight. We all know that criminals don't work 9-5 Monday to Friday so we need to keep a police presence 24 hours a day if for no other reason than deterrence.

  • Captain Crunch
    February 28, 2013 - 16:03

    The reality is that Springhill can no longer afford to have two police officers working 24 hours, seven days a week (be it the current municipal police or the RCMP) so move on and do what needs to be done...end of story.

  • CrazyCanuck
    February 28, 2013 - 09:36

    Its not surprising that the town representatives only give out half the information, just enough to make themselves look like they have the good of the town in mind. They neglect to mention that this 18.5% is for money that they have been owed. They were without a contract for 3 years. It went to arbitration and they won. They are not getting an 18.5% raise just for the sake of getting a raise. Most of it is back money that they were owed. All this and they are still the lowest paid police force in Nova Scotia. They, like the nurses and the correctional officers shouldn't or wouldn't work for less money than people doing the same job in other parts of the province. If the town is that concerned about money, maybe they should go after the thousands of dollars owed in property taxes. I'm sure if someone had the balls to collect on this money, it would cover the police force and then some. To say that the population has been the same since the 80's is irrelevant. I grew up in this town and you can't compare the amount of crime and drugs from the 80's to what there is today. If you were still employed there, you would already know this. If you think the RCMP are the answer, bring them in and see how well that works with no one on after 1am except on the weekends. These people that are whining now would be the 1st ones to complain when it take an hour for someone to show up. Its like anything in life, you don't appreciate it until its gone and then its too late.

  • Dave George
    February 28, 2013 - 05:50

    I didn't vote for the current mayor of Springhill but replacing the Springhill Police downstairs with real cops (RCMP) would be something I agree with. Least we would get a bang for our buck.

  • Dorothy
    February 27, 2013 - 20:44

    The census of Springhill N.S. has been on the decline,therefore I assume the taxpayers left will see increases in the taxes to make up the difference .then you have businesses that are closing or leaving all together,,I do not see why the town of Springhill is hanging onto the police with the population declining,,it doesn't make any since,, then the police want an increase in pay, for what! the RCMP in my opinion can patrol the village of Springhill not a town much longer the way things are going,and to cut the police station staff to half ,or close it completley ,is the only way to save your finances ,,instead of raising taxes again. If this keeps up there is no way that the next generation will be able to afford to live in the Town of Springhill.. Thank You

  • Colin Martin
    February 27, 2013 - 17:59

    the people have been saying this too long that we don't need the number of police officers here. We had 3700 residents here in 1986 and we have the same number now. We had 9 ploice officers then, including the Chief. All member excluding the Chief worked shift work. a 1.5 million dollar budget is ridiculous. The Rcmp would have policed this town for between 6 and 8 hundred thousand. A 18.5 % raise is also ridiculous. Change the scheduling system or replace

    • M-connors
      February 28, 2013 - 10:36

      The RCMP are not the answer here. Communities that have the RCMP are trying to get rid of them but once in; are near impossible to replace. The RCMP will automatically cut service and the town will lose its autonomy with a force that doesn't have a local presence policing the streets. The biggest issue here is that according to the town lawyer during negotiations; 40 percent of Springhill's property taxes are not collected. Start collecting the taxes from the homeowners and you could easily afford to pay for a police force that is still the lowest paid in the province (even after the 18.5 percent increase over four years).