Spruce Grove summer policing budget rises $25k

Council makes extra contribution for second straight year

RCMP in Spruce Grove are getting a boost in funding this summer.

Council has moved $25,000 dollars out of its contingency fund and into community policing.

Mayor Stuart Houston says he's getting frustrated with the amount of property crime people are experiencing.

"Quite frankly, I am fed up to here with what's going on in the city. In regards to petty crime, in regards to citizens complaining to me, I'm getting it every day on social media. I want to be able to be shown that we are taking some action on it. We need to be seen as a council that's taking it seriously," he said.

Councillor Erin Stevenson says she supports the funding boost, but noted that this is becoming a pattern.

"The whole point of council contingency is that there's opportunities and various projects or initiatives that come forward throughout the year. And this will now be the second year in a row that we've committed a fairly large chunk of the council budget to the same thing," she said.

"Rather then, if we're hearing it again - that police need this and it helps enhance it - then we really need to put that above the line in the corporate budget."

Councillor Dave Oldham was the one who made the proposal to put up the cash.

He agreed that if the money's needed in future years, it should be built into the annual budget.

"I would support this motion, and want to look at building this into the corporate plan process. I agree with Councillor Stevenson that council contingency is not meant for year-over-year expenses. So I think we need to look at that change, but do also value the importance of it, and the benefit to our community in the summer," he said.

Council was unanimous in its decision to approve the funding.

A consideration to increase the annual operating budget for police would likely happen during future council deliberations in the fall.

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