Lacombe council tweaks police budget to send financial message

Mayor says council concerned about rising policing costs

Lacombe city council has trimmed its police budget to send a message about financial restraint.

Council voted this week to reduce the $3.3-million budget proposed by the Lacombe Police Commission by $25,000. The reduction was a compromise from the $50,000 cut council originally wanted.

Mayor Grant Creasey said the “slight adjustment” will have little impact on the policing budget. The change was more about highlighting the need to keep policing costs more in line with council’s goal of limiting budget increases to the rise in the consumer price index, he said.

Creasey said council’s move was to let the commission know that the “continued increases in their budget, which have been significant, are not sustainable and have to be brought under control.”

Creasey said the budget has increased sharply from $2.2 million in 2015 as the force has bolstered its ranks and moved into a new headquarters in 2016.

“No question about it, they are doing a wonderful job of improving the police service,” he said.

However, as much as the force is valued, the municipality must keep its finances in check, said the mayor.

The reduction prompted police commission chairman Bob Huff to write a letter defending the group’s budgeting and requesting the $50,000 be restored.

Huff said the city provided no rationale for its reduction.

“It appears to be arbitrary and reactive, as if council assumes we are asking high in anticipation of a reduction,” he writes in his Nov. 15 letter.

Unlike other city departments, the police budget is drafted, reviewed and scrutinized by the commission before it is sent to council.

The commission’s budget committee develops the financial plan over several months to “ensure that not only is it reasonable and in scope, but also focuses on fiscal responsibility and minimal impact on the overall city tax base.”

Police Chief Lorne Blumhagen addressed council on Monday to discuss the budget and future plans for the force.

Creasey said the budget discussion has improved communication between all of those involved, which is important given the relatively unique position of having a municipal police force, one of only seven communities in Alberta to have one.

“It’s not always an easy and straightforward situation,” he said. “That’s why it’s nice to have a dialogue directly with council.”

Just Posted

Alberta budget Oct. 24: Premier says will have tough touches to fight deficit

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says the Alberta budget is to be… Continue reading

Olive the owl joins wildlife centre

Owl rescued from Red Deer Golf course

Flurries possible for Red Deer on the weekend

Drastic change in weather is on the way

Red Deer RCMP make city’s biggest ever fentanyl bust

More than 3,500 fentanyl tablets and other drugs seized last month

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Police investigating homicide after woman found dead in residential building in Winnipeg

Winnipeg police say they are investigating a homicide after a woman was… Continue reading

Samsung’s folding phone hits the US

NEW YORK — Samsung’s folding phone is finally hitting the U.S. Samsung… Continue reading

Thomas Cook collapse means headaches for Transat as partnership deal dies

MONTREAL — Tour operator Transat Inc. says it could face fallout from… Continue reading

Mikkelson sees evidence of success in women’s hockey showcase in Toronto

TORONTO — Two-time Olympic gold medallist Meaghan Mikkelson woke up in her… Continue reading

Canada downs Mexico 109-53 in women’s basketball AmeriCup opener

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Jamie Scott had 21 points, including five… Continue reading

Pink and red combos, Hollywood gold on the Emmys carpet

NEW YORK — Julia Louis-Dreyfus stunned in classic Hollywood gold, Zendaya donned… Continue reading

‘Everest has not gone away:’ Sharon Wood tells story of historic summit in book

CANMORE, Alta. — More than three decades after becoming the first woman… Continue reading

Most Read