file photo

City council approves police and municipal employee funding

Councillors continue to call on the province for more equitable policing funds

Red Deer City council approved police and municipal resource funding during operational budget deliberations on Friday, continuing to call on the Province to close the distance between rural and urban funding gaps.

Ultimately, the funding will go towards three new members and two municipal employee positions as well, council decided.

The funding will also support an officer who will work with the Central Alberta Children’s Advocacy Centre, which council said was a critical aspect to where some of the funding will be directed.

“I think this resolution allows us to continue our plan to essentially fund five new officers per year,” said Mayor Tara Veer, adding that success has been seen over the past year with the addition of the downtown policing unit, for example.

“I think this a good plan, it attends to the requests of priority areas, it allows us to not compromise on the decisions we’ve made in the past and in the coming year, in 2020, to continue to shift to a more proactive model of community safety,” she said.

She also referred to the discrepancy in funding between rural and urban municipalities as an ongoing struggle for council to deal with.

“The Province is also subsidizing police resources needed for children and youth in rural Alberta but notably not in Alberta’s urban centres,” said Veer.

“I think that is absolutely unacceptable, and we call on them to close the two-tiered service gap that exists between the safety of children and youth in urban and rural Alberta,” she said.

Coun. Ken Johnston agreed.

“The provincial inequity between municipal and rural is not just a gap, it’s a chasm,” he said.

“It’s becoming the Grand Canyon…as it relates to support around policing,” he added.

Meanwhile, the support for the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre is critical, councillors agreed.

“These cases need to be dealt with swiftly to minimize the trauma to kids, and having the right people in place as a dedicated resource will allow that to happen,” said Coun. Tanya Handley. “I definitely support this 100 per cent.”

Coun. Vesna Higham agreed, pointing out the enormous need for support that is and will be needed at the Centre in light of the number of cases of crime against children.

Overall, citizen satisfaction surveys have shown that concerns over crime are a top issue for local residents.

Coun. Lawrence Lee pointed out that he’s looking forward to the policing review to help, “Clearly understand for our citizens that the money that we are stewards of and responsible for is being used effectively.

“There comes a point when policing isn’t just officers on the street. It’s having to work with justice, having to work with the framework of backlog in our community, working with advocacy at federal levels, at provincial levels.

“We’ve identified in this budget a number of areas where we’ve needed to close gaps and to make sure that the City is getting its fair share of equity in terms of rural policing versus urban policing and officer funding.”

That’s why, essentially, it’s always important to test the systems to ensure as high level of efficiency as possible, he said.

Other highlights from Friday included $91,537 towards the economic development program expansion and $200,000 for rough sleeper camps and debris clean-up.

“We will continue with the funding this year to respond to very significant community safety concerns (in relation to) of drug drug debris and rough sleeper camps throughout the park system and downtown,” said Veer.

The funding for this initiative was launched last year.

Looking ahead, on Jan. 14th, council will take a look at funding for various agencies and community groups and services.

This year’s proposed Operating Budget is based on council’s Strategic Plan, guidelines established by council, initiatives in City department service plans and feedback from citizens regarding community safety.

The Budget as recommended to council has an increase of $3,336,384 or the equivalent of a 2.50 per cent tax increase in the municipal portion of the property tax bill.

The $121 million 2019 Capital Budget was approved last November.

Just Posted

Women of Excellence Awards introduces ‘Women of Excellence in Construction’

Gala will take place June 19th at the Sheraton Red Deer

Check online to make sure you’re registered to vote in upcoming provincial election

Advance polls open Tuesday, April 9th to Saturday, April 13th

UPDATE: Christy Starling has been found

Red Deer RCMP thank the public for their assistance

Red Deer Legion Pipe Band celebrates National Tartan Day

The band is raising money for their trip to Scotland in 2020

Sharon and Bram head to Red Deer on final tour

The duo is celebrating their 40th anniversary farewell tour

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Teen girl accused in plot to attack Kamloops school with weapons out on bail

Judge warned the girl she would be back in jail if she threatened to shoot anyone

Oil prices, Alberta election call cloud Stampede chuckwagon auction expectations

The top money bid last year came from Versatile Energy Services, Ltd.

Lacombe hosts 6th Invasive Species Council Conference at LMC

Council looks to protect native ecological environments in Alberta

Pot industry welcomes decreased edibles tax, but unhappy medical tax remains

Taxes can increase the cost of medical cannabis by as much as 25 per ceny

‘It has to send a message:’ Broncos families await sentencing for truck driver

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving and apologized in court

MPs continue voting marathon as Tories protest shutdown of Wilson-Raybould motion

Multiple MPs have resigned from Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet

Carbon tax, oil and gas investment dominate Day 2 of Alberta campaign

NDP pledges more oil and gas processing, UCP slams provincial and federal governments on carbon tax

Most Read