Cornwall 2022 police budget starts at 4% increase

(Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – The cost to run the Cornwall Police Service is slated to go up a shade over 4 per cent next year.

That’s the preliminary figure tabled Thursday at the city police board meeting. It works out to roughly an extra $814,000 compared to last year ($21 million versus $20.2 million in 2021).

It’s hoped that grants from senior governments covering such programs as RIDE and the Situation Table (estimated in the budget as an extra $304,000 in increased revenue and reduced expenses), the proposed increase could be reduced to about 3.1 per cent.

Almost all of next year’s increase will go towards salary and benefits – the bulk of those can’t be altered because they’re protected by collective agreements. Approximately 88 per cent of the budget is salaries and benefits. There’s also been turnover in civilian staff at the police station, the board heard.

The force is struggling with manning the front lines with 13 of its officers off the job this year with most of those Workplace Safety and Insurance Board claims and others placed on modified duty.

Mayor Glen Grant called the budget “tough to swallow” but felt it was necessary given the current climate in local policing. A study of municipal police budgets by the CPS says it’s proposed increase is around the middle of the pack compared to other Ontario municipal forces.

The CPS has 92 police officers, 11 special constables, 38 civilian members and 14 part-time civilian members.

The budget, which was passed by the board, still has to be approved by city council.