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Planning the Budget

Posted on May 15, 2013

RE: 2013/14 Operating Budget – Policing Service Impacts and Kentville Development Corporation Limited (KDCL) Support.

At the May 13, 2013 Council Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting Council accepted and recommended to Town Council an operating budget that would see a ¼ cent reduction to the residential tax rate, and a 3 cent reduction to the commercial rate to balance the $11,876,400 budget. The budget presentation and meeting discussions were highlighted by a reduction to policing services and new financial support for KDCL.

Council has presently earmarked $125,000 for KDCL / Economic Development. Prior to the CAC meeting KDCL requested a total funding of $130,000 to be collected by a proposed area rate in addition to a $20,000 grant. Additionally, CAO Mark Phillips recommended, earlier in the meeting, that Council support KDCL at the $150,000 level by means of a tax levy and grant. Of the $125,000 presently included in the budget for KDCL $105,000 of the total would be for operational funding and; the other $20,000 would come from reserves and be a one-time grant. Communication from the CAO’s office is being sent out to KDCL’s Board of Director’s to see how the group can work with the proposed allocation.

The second issue highlighted in the budget was an $112,000 reduction to the police service. The reduction of miscellaneous expenses and one non-frontline officer and the postponement of purchasing a new marked police cruiser account for the changes this year. The Kentville Police Service has a current compliment of nineteen (19) uniformed officers serving Kentville including the Chief and an Inspector:
o Chief x 1
o Inspector x1
o Frontline Officers x 12 (Four (4) platoons with 3 officers in each platoon)
o Other Officers x5

The primary reason for the adjustment of the service was to address what Council felt was an oversized service for the population served. Sustainable budget reductions were weighted more heavily by Council than were short term solutions provided by both management and the local APA Union. Statistics such as case load per officer and officers per capita were heavily weighted in the decision making process.

Discussions at both the Police Commission level and Council level emphasized that the frontline is to be maintained. Mayor Corkum has stated that the number of officers on the front line will not be reduced. In addition to the preservation of the frontline, Council, the Police Commission, and Senior Management, are confident the overall safety and armed response capability of the service will remain
fully in place. This was a conclusion reached based on an assessment of the quantity of officers and not the quality. Council is very pleased with the service provided by its individual officers, and the collective team.

Town Council will discuss the operating budget on May 27th at 7:00pm in Town Hall Council Chambers at 354 Main Street.

For further information please contact Mayor David Corkum at 679-2502 / dcorkum@kentville.ca or CAO Mark Phillips at 679-2501 / markp@kentville.ca .