ST. MARY’S – The cost of policing the Municipality of The District of St. Mary’s just got steeper.
Director of Finance Marian Fraser delivered the news at a recent committee of the whole meeting, stating that the district’s mandatory contribution for maintaining 3.5 (full-time equivalent) RCMP officers will rise by just under five per cent to $513,390 in fiscal 2021-22 (ending March 31), compared with the previous year.
“That’s $19,000 above what we had actually budgeted for this year,” she said, adding: “It’s the largest increase we’ve seen in quite a few years.
According to the municipality’s most recent budget (2021-22), the cost of all protective services in the district was forecast to be about $600,000, of which more than 80 per cent was earmarked for the RCMP. Other services receiving municipal grants included fire departments, EMO, building inspection and animal control services.
In March, council approved a budget highlighted by no tax increases and a multi-million-dollar accumulated operating and capital surplus in 2021-22. Gross revenue was expected to be $3,295,264, about 0.25 per cent higher than the previous year. Meanwhile, the district held the line on both operational and project spending to stabilize its books over the coming months.
“I expected most of what was in the budget,” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald said at the time. “Being a small, rural municipality, we take a very responsible approach to spending and budget accordingly.”
Said Fraser at the recent committee of the whole: “We will have to keep a close eye on other areas in our budget to ensure that we’re not over budget overall at the end.”
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal