Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Police Budgets

There was a day when, through a procedural quirk that I, a simple Ward Councillor, was poised to freeze the police budget.

This was when I was Regional Councillor and had for a year ascended to the lofty heights of budget committee member. (There were only four on the committee and that oddity presented the procedural opportunity, as I recall.)

Long story short: I had , of course, over rated my procedural prowess and the police got their money as they always do.

I was reminded of this today upon reading a report in the Stratford Beacon-Herald that notes that the small southwestern town of St. Mary’s is considering other policing arrangements after the police budget (for the OPP in this case) is expected to escalate by 82%. Mayor Jamie Hahn calls it “outrageous and unreasonable.” Other communities - Oxford County and Sarnia have similar issues according to the story by Laura Cudworth.

But the real story here should be:


This has been the case for some time. For many reasons police budgets get measured by a different standard than other areas of the municipal budget.

Not to suggest there is a simple solution for municipal politicians. In fact, the escalating costs are probably beyond their control.

I drove like an undertaker for some time after my fifteen minutes of oppositional fame. To this day I bet there is no one who does the textbook perfect lane changes that I do.