Organizers of the Manitoba Marathon were fearing a hefty new fee from the Winnipeg Police Service but got much better news on Wednesday than they expected.
While bracing for as much as a $20,000 charge to cover the cost of 56 police officers needed for the event, organizers learned the bill would only be $2,500.
"They're able to have their regular [policing] staff appear as opposed to off duty, which means no overtime, etcetera," Mayor Sam Katz said at Wednesday's Executive Policy Committee (EPC) meeting.
Marathon organizers were first told in January 2013 of a change in police service policy that would likely result in a greater expense to the event.
The policy change means general patrol officers will no longer be used for parade escorts or traffic control. For events such as the marathon, special duty officers will instead be assigned.
Hearing they could face as much as a $20,000 charge, marathon organizers turned to the city for help. They sent a letter to a city community committee requesting a $15,000 grant — equal to $1,000 from each city councillor — to help out.
In the letter, marathon executive director Shirley Lumb said the event has 13,000 thousand runners, an equal number of spectators and more than 2,000 volunteers. But there are certain places, such as controlled intersections, where uniformed police are required to control traffic.
The committee forwarded the grant request to the EPC for consideration on Wednesday, where organizers learned the cost would not be anywhere near their biggest fears.
Even with the lower expense, the marathon is going to get some help.
Coun. Brian Mayes said he would contribute to their costs from his councillor's allowance.