Springhill to decide on service before next budget
SPRINGHILL – The dust is starting to kick up on social media and the fate of Springhill’s police force is the focus.
© Christopher Gooding - The Citizen-Record
A largely pro-police website with more than 500 members is getting much attention on the social website Facebook, but offline Springhill’s Mayor and the policing review committee members continue to meet with the town operated service and R.C.M.P. while a decision looms.
“Right at the moment we’ve gotten modules from the police department and the R.C.M.P.,” Springhill Mayor Max Snow said.
While an invitation was extended to Amherst Police, it went unanswered so the committee is now weighing the existing service and R.C.M.P. could offer, including what type of coverage would be provided, staffing, location and cost.
“That’s the stuff we’re looking at, We won’t release anything this week, but we’re going to have a look at these and really soon an announcement is going to happen. In the next few weeks I suspect,” Snow said. “It’s not going to be another year. It’s going to be real soon.”
A lot of weight is being given to making a decision sooner than later ahead of the town’s next fiscal budget, Snow said, to be fair to the members Springhill Police Service. Since the review was called last year, it would be unfair to leave the department in uncertainty any longer than they already have.
In February 2013, the town called for the policing review, just a month after signing a retroactive contract with the department and a few weeks away from entering negotiations on the next contract. At that time, Mayor Snow said the newly formed policing review committee was not a reflection on the department’s service, but the cost of the department. A salary increase of 18.5 per cent in the last contract, Snow said in 2013, was unaffordable and talk of raising taxes had taken place.
The cost of policing in Springhill in 2012 and 2013 represented between 22 and 23 per cent of the town’s operating budget. In 2012, the town was operating on a $6.6 million budget, while in 2013 that increased to $6.9 million.