Almost all of the $50 million spent by Sudbury police next year will be on salaries and benefits.

Chief Frank Elsner said — for the first time ever — personnel costs make up 90 per cent of the police budget.

He says with 100 new officers hired in recent years that number is likely to go up in the future.

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Sudbury Police Chief Frank Elsner (CBC)

"The good part … from a budget perspective is they start at fourth class, but then they start moving up through the grids," Elsner said.

"This year and next year are the two big-hit years for us."

Even though the police budget is $1.5 million more than last year, Elsner said there is little room to cover the costs of unforeseen events like a strike or natural disaster.

Sudbury city councillor Joe Cimino said some taxpayers are too quick to criticize the high costs of police, fire and ambulance services.

"So, a lot of times we pay tax, but the comment we often get is, 'Well, what do we get for it?’ Well right there you have three major services at your beck and call for emergencies."

Other city councillors also praised Sudbury police at their Tuesday night meeting, saying they've noticed more officers on the streets recently, including in the outlying areas.