Hamilton police chief Glenn De Caire has amended his budget request for 2013 to a 3.9 per cent increase.
The new proposed budget comes in at $140,932,240, which is a $5,290,700 increase from 2012. It also includes a recommended hiring of 20 new officers and one full-time civilian staff member.
The budget has been controversial since November, when De Caire offered a draft budget with a $7.1-million increase, or 5.25 per cent over last year. The police services board told him to revise it, and he came back with a 4.75-per cent increase.
But board members still weren’t satisfied, and told him to return this month with an even deeper cut. At the time, Coun. Bernie Morelli said, “We need to find a way to get to 3 per cent — or in or around there — in a way that doesn't hurt this community.”
Mayor Bob Bratina told CBC Hamilton that his sticking point with the budget has always been an “adequate provision of service.”
“The issue for me is always providing the service that’s required,” Bratina said. “The number is another issue.”
Bratina said he still needed to sit down and digest the new budget request with the rest of the police board, but added that he had “full confidence” in De Caire.
“I think he’s been an outstanding police chief, and there’s been improvement in the sense of seeing more officers on the street,” he said.
“Some of them are sitting on horses, so you can’t miss them.”
According to the public agenda for Monday’s police services board meeting, De Caire is suggesting a number of changes to previous requests in the budget — including the phasing in of equipment purchases, cost reductions, increased revenue estimates, and an increase in transfer from reserves.
These changes amount to a 1.35-per cent decrease from the original budget proposal.
De Caire will present the newly revised budget at Monday's police services board meeting.