Edmonton approves 3.3% tax increase

Edmonton police will have fewer officers patrolling city streets now that council isn't giving them everything they asked for in their budget, said Chief Rod Knecht.

Council turns down police request for more officers

Police Chief Rod Knecht asked for an additional $6.5 million in this year's police budget but council turned him down. (CBC)

Edmonton homeowners will see a 3.3% hike in their property taxes next year.

The increase, approved Tuesday by city council, will mean the average homeowner with a house valued at $357,000 will see their taxes go up $60 a year.

Earlier in the day, council turned down a request by Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht for an additional $6.5 million to hire 29 new officers.

Knecht says the decision means that Edmonton will have fewer officers patrolling city streets.

"There's some areas we don't have any room to negotiate," he said, referring to the transportation of prisoners from cells and the courthouse to the new remand centre in deep north Edmonton.

"That means essentially a bit of a cutback here. We're going to have to take people off the road."

Coun. Tony Caterina, who sits on the police commission, said there isn't much left to cut.

"I know that they've scrubbed down to bleeding knuckles in order to rearrange their members and to find all the efficiencies," Caterina said.

Mayor Stephen Mandel said he'll ask the province to help pay for sheriffs to transfer prisoners to the new remand centre to ease the burden on police.

City police will get $15 million more in this year's budget, but Knecht maintains the money will only meet salary contract increases and inflation.