Hamilton police budget sent to council

Hamilton’s police budget has finally passed — but it still has to be approved by City Council.

The Hamilton Police Services Board accepted Chief Glenn De Caire’s third budget proposal Monday night. It boosts spending by 3.9%, and raises the budget by five million dollars to $141 million.

De Caire says the force needs to hire 20 new officers and one new civilian just to keep up.

“This budget includes the additional 21 new personnel. Significant savings have been identified by altering the hiring dates to hire ten officers in May and ten officers in September.”

Mayor Bob Bratina said “What council needs to understand is that a police service is different from an industrial factory where you can make cuts to staff and you can change the output you can do. We cant reduce the output of policing in the City of Hamilton.”

But Councillor Terry Whitehead said “Others will say why are you hiring when everyone else is freezing and capping employees. You’re hiring 20 new officers and you’re only deferring a lot of those costs to next year’s budget.”

As mentioned, the police budget still has to be approved by city council, which is fighting any increases that will raise taxes.