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Sunday , 7 March 2021

M.D. looks hard at province’s funding formula that will cost municipality

The M.D. of Bonnyville got a better look at the proposed RCMP funding formula that would see the municipality start paying for RCMP service.

Currently, the M.D. as a rural municipality with a population under 5,000 is exempt from paying RCMP services, but that could change as the province is rolling out a formula that could see them paying between $600,000 to $3 million a year for the service they’re already receiving.

Director of Public Safety Chris Garner broke down the figures at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Councillor Ben Fadeyiw called the numbers staggering.

“They are offloading more services onto us. We’re not going to get an increase in services, but the only thing we’re going to get is a cost increase,” said Fadeyiw on The Morning After.

“We’d liked to have some say to it for how it’s going to go and how they’ll be policed. There is a lot of dialogue right now. But it’s not just us, it’s the whole province.”

It would be the first time in 30 years a rural municipality would pay for policing, but they had options of operating with their own sheriffs.

The Government of Alberta would need to open up the Policing Act to allow these municipalities options.

There is the potential for the M.D. to receive a subsidy but that would only cover a small percentage of the total cost.

The province has not finalized what the cost to small communities would be, but Fadeyiw said, it’s got to come from somewhere

“We’re going to have to take the money out of somewhere and it’s going to be out of our general cost. So we’re going to be able to do less things…I hope it doesn’t affect any rec programs or road programs,” he said.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.