Hamilton Police budget sent back to drawing board for review

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Published January 30, 2024 at 2:54 pm

The $206.9 million Hamilton Police budget will be sent back to the police services board for a line-by-line review, with city councillors hoping the document can come back sufficiently trimmed by February 15.

Hamilton’s budget committee approved a motion from Ward 2 Councillor Cameron Kroetsch to send the budget, which is $19.8 million up from last year, back for review after nearly a hundred delegates showed up in the council chambers last week demanding the money be allocated elsewhere, such as affordable housing initiatives.

The motion passed by an 8-3 vote, with several councillors – including Ward 15’s Ted McMeekin – voting in favour despite publicly stating support for the police request.

Mayor Andrea Horwath also expressed unhappiness with the motion, noting she was “unsure” what changes can be made in two weeks – but did support the request for review.

Ward 6 Councillor Tom Jackson was one of the three ‘no’ votes Ward 5 Councillor Matt Francis and Ward 14 Councillor Mike Spadafora were the others – saying Council should look elsewhere for savings.

In his notice of motion, Kroetsch cited a Mayor’s Directive from August 31 that stated the City of Hamilton “must reduce the burden on residential property taxes” and ensure that “all redundancies and efficiencies have been identified and addressed” before continued funding is approved.

The budget request from Hamilton Police represents more than 10 per cent of the entire city budget and Kroetsch’s motion asked that the Police Services Board report back with an amended budget – “outlining any additional redundancies and efficiencies” – by February 15.

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