Towns need help paying for policing

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Federal, provincial response needed

Amherst Mayor Robert Small speaks to Rotarian Sue McIsaac after speaking to members of the Amherst Rotary Club on Monday. The mayor talked about the town’s strategic priorities, but also discussed the escalating cost of policing. 

 

AMHERST – Springhill is not immune to policing costs that aren’t sustainable, says Amherst’s mayor.

Speaking to members of the Amherst Rotary Club on Monday, Robert Small said the tough decisions facing Springhill are similar to what many small towns are coming to grips with.

Small says police budgets are quickly getting too high for towns like Springhill and Amherst and suggested both the provincial and federal governments need to offer assistance to smaller municipalities.

“Policing costs right across Canada and the fact of the matter is we have to find a way of addressing these increased costs. We just can’t keep sustaining them,” the mayor said. “They are literally eating up the budgets of municipalities across Canada.”

Small’s comments come a week after Springhill Mayor Max Snow said his town is exploring alternate sources of policing because protective services, including the fire department, is taking up more than 40 per cent of the municipal budget.

Small said it’s important for municipalities such as Amherst to learn what other towns and cities are doing across the country to control police budgets.

“It’s a big number and the infrastructure is not getting any younger,” Small said. “We have to decide as a town what infrastructure you’re going to put in and what you can do to support your police force.”

The mayor said his town’s concern is not one that pits the municipal police department against what it would cost to, for example, bring in the RCMP. He said Amherst taxpayers and councillors are happy with their municipal police department. But, he said, sustaining its cost is something council is going to eventually have to come to terms with.

Small said he understands the situation Springhill is facing because it doesn’t have the tax base to support rising costs and is not in a position where it can raise taxes any higher. At the same time, though, he said legislation and other federal and provincial regulations are adding to the cost of policing.

Snow said his town needs to find ways to provide citizens with a level of service that is affordable to taxpayers. A recent arbitration award that gives unionized police offers an 18.5 per cent pay increase over three years and dispatchers nine per cent over three years will increase the protective services budget there to 44 per cent of the town’s overall budget.

In Amherst, protective services accounts for about 32 per cent of the budget.

Small said he has not spoken to the Springhill mayor about the possibility of having Amherst’s police department assume policing in Springhill through a regional police force, but he said it’s an idea that may deserve further exploration.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

 

Organizations: Amherst Rotary Club, RCMP

Geographic location: AMHERST, Springhill, Canada

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Recent comments

  • nfn
    March 21, 2013 - 12:40

    it is getting pretty sad when someone who wants to make a statement does so by using someone eles name, when reading the original post which was suppose to have been written by Jack On the Rocks I knew right away that the person who goes by this nickname was not the same person who wrote this entry, I spoke to Jack and my instincts were right he didn't enter this post, I'm sure that the people at the Daily have seen enough posts entered by Jack that they should have noticed the difference in email addresses. Its to bad the people at the Daily have to check previous posts to see if they(other posters) if someone is using someone else nickname, its to bad this person doesn't have the """" to use his own name instead of stiring the pot and hiding behind another persons post, but Jack u shouldn't say the Daily was respsonsible for this post.

  • Jack On The Rocks
    March 20, 2013 - 06:41

    ADN,if you don't want my original comment,don't post it...but sure as heck,don't make up your own comment and post it under my username...THAT"S A SPADE!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nfn
    March 19, 2013 - 18:43

    maybe if the town wouldn't put so much money into old buildings they could this money for other worthwhile purposes. Let me see oh yes we bought the old police station, the old legion building and the old RCMP office, what use do we have for them, the three are not worth fixing, they are just tax drain for the citizens of Amherst, if Herrett keeps gong the town will be broke just the town he came from

  • Charlie Joseph
    March 19, 2013 - 17:48

    Maybe if you didn't use someone's height as an insult Jack - you would be listened to, and possibly taken seriously. Being a bully boy on the internet with an alias is just bad form in 2013.

  • Bubba Sparks
    March 19, 2013 - 17:40

    A lot of people are still wondering the cost of the expedition ford which was one of the police cars in Springhill, the one which was found stolen in Simpsons lake, yhe one which was stolen from the front of the station, the one that was stolen and they gave camera footage but no charges were ever brought to the 2 punks involved, the ones who still laugh about it, probably no cost to the police station, just the tax folks yet again, Springhill police force is a joke, has been and always will be, bring the RCMP in!

  • will theydoit
    March 19, 2013 - 17:24

    Just sayin about Smalls comments of his last line, SPS and APD ---regional policing would only work if cooler heads prevail between each town,this was the issue in moncton NB when dieppe ,riverview and moncton couldn't agree on anything so the JUSTICE MINISTER STEPPED IN AND THEY ALL LOST BY GOING TO THE RCMP!!!!

  • Jack On The rocks
    March 19, 2013 - 11:10

    Maybe whats lacking from Small Mayor's strategy is the ability to organize priorities. Perhaps if policing was put ahead of council raises, a new town hall, and downtown revitalization projects there could be a totally different fiscal picture. Lets call a spade a spade.