Public to weigh in on proposed Halifax police budget

Halifax Regional Police is asking for a $95-million budget for the coming year. (Dave Laughlin/CBC - image credit)
Halifax Regional Police is asking for a $95-million budget for the coming year. (Dave Laughlin/CBC - image credit)

The public will have a chance to weigh in on this year's Halifax police budget at a meeting Monday afternoon.

The city's board of police commissioners is holding a special meeting in Dartmouth on the main floor of Alderney Landing.

This is the second public meeting of its kind after the board opened the budget conversation to public input last year.

Halifax Regional Police has proposed a $95.2-million budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, which is up about $6 million from last year, largely due to a bump in officer salaries. The 2021 contract won HRP union members a 10 per cent raise over four years between 2020-2023.

The force is requesting three new sworn positions in the budget, including a new detective for the hate-crime unit, police science program supervisor, and sergeant for its emergency response team's canine group. It's also looking for two civilian positions: an in-house psychologist and occupational health nurse.

Those service enhancements would cost nearly $628,000, according to the budget.

HRP did suggest two ways to cut $237,500 from their budget in light of council's goal to keep the municipal tax bill increase at four per cent rather than the original eight per cent.

These include discontinuing lake safety patrol and lifeguard services on Lake Micmac and Lake Banook, and upping its admin fee built into extra-duty rates from three per cent to 10 per cent.

Monday's meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. AT, and people have two options on how they'd like to speak.

They can register in advance through the clerk's office or decide to speak during the meeting. After all the pre-registered speakers have been called, anyone present in the meeting room can choose to speak then.

Municipal staff have told the board they plan to livestream the meeting if technology allows.