Government responds to municipal police costing concerns

Several municipalities under 5,000 in population have been concerned with the overall effects of the possible change in provincial costing models.

Worries of being on the hook for an additional 15 to 80 per cent of the funding for their current services was top of mind.

Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner said this was simply not the case.

The goal of this restructuring is to get more police out into these smaller communities to ensure safety and hold criminals accountable.

“Any additional funds from smaller communities becoming part of the model go to additional police,” said MLA Horner. “It’s not shifting the burden, it doesn’t mean that because they are paying, the larger communities pay less, it’s adding them to make a bigger pie.”

This way there will be more “boots on the ground in rural Alberta.” “It seems one-sided out here because all of our communities are smaller except for like the town of Stettler. They say it’s about time,” said Horner.

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, added, “Let me be clear: Our goal is more police services.”

“If any new funding model that would collect funds from more municipalities is chosen, any funds collected would be reinvested in frontline policing and would lead to an overall increase in funding for police services in Alberta. It would lead to more police funding, not less.

“Any assertion to the contrary is absolutely, one-hundred per cent false.”

The model is based partially on assessment and partially on the population, meaning the government will look at each community differently in terms of how much they can pay.

It will affect every rural area differently because there are RCMP detachments in different places.

“Ensuring Albertans feel – and are – safe and protected goes to the heart of who we are as a government. We want to make sure we fund law enforcement in a way that will enhance public safety for all Albertans and ensure we have more police in our communities. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” said Schweitzer.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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