Cities, including Meadow Lake, and their local RCMP detachments have finalized their multi-year financial plans for the upcoming five-year span of municipal policing.
The provincial plan, which was prepared by Brad Lanthier, director of 'F' Division Operations Strategy Branch, and his team, were due for a review with the new agreement coming to councils for five years spanning from 2021 to 2026 for communities with populations between 5,000 and 15,000 people. This includes the City of Meadow Lake’s RCMP detachment.
Municipalities that fit this population range pay 70 per cent of the total costs for their detachment with an estimated basic average cost per member for the community sitting at almost $112,000 in the 2020-21 fiscal year. The federal government pays the other 30 per cent of the cost. According to the report, this number will increase in 2021-22 to almost $117,000 per member to adjust for historical spending trends on “changes to equipment pricing year-over-year, any urgent or unforeseeable expenditures, and changes to equipment suppliers or specifications for operational equipment.”
Meadow Lake will see RCMP services cost $1.8 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. By the 2025-26 fiscal year, service costs for the city will be increased to almost $2 million.
This figure represents all costs incurred by having a full-time staff member as part of the detachment, including indirect costs of CPP, EI, and others, and direct costs of salary, equipment, and vehicle costs.
Resources for the detachment are the biggest cost driver, Lanthier said, and those needs are discussed between the communities and the detachments as they move forward with financial planning. Filling in resource gaps, like backfilling staff requirements has been an important goal for the Saskatchewan RCMP, he said, both provincially and municipally in the past year and many vacancies were filled.
“We received a higher number of cadets than we had in the past. So they know previous years vacancies had been an issue that was talked about quite a bit in this province.”
Financial planning does go into adding members to the detachment, Lanthier said, as vacancies must be filled within budget constraints. These discussions between municipalities, the detachments, and Saskatchewan RCMP have worked well in the past and there is always room for feedback, he said.
Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist