Hamilton needs to take control of its policing: Merulla
CBC Hamilton reporter Samantha Craggs is tweeting live from Wednesday's city council meeting
When Toronto speaks, everyone listens.
That's why a Hamilton councillor is using the Big Smoke's latest debate over its $1-billion police budget to make his own point again — cities should have more control over their police services.
Coun. Sam Merulla pushed city council in 2013 to ask the province for more control over Hamilton Police Services. The city should govern the service directly, he said, or at least get to decide who sits on its board.
Policing is overseen in Ontario by local police boards, which are made up of a mix of provincial and city appointees and local councillors. And despite police costs accounting for 20 per cent of the city budget, council ultimately has little say over policing.
Merulla will try to get city council to "reaffirm" its position at a meeting Wednesday night. In Toronto, Mayor John Tory has just struck a new task force to look at "transforming" policing, including how to modernize operations and contain costs.
"Because Mayor (John) Tory says it, the world is listening," the Ward 4 councillor said. "We already have it on the books."
Merulla's motion wasn't an easy sell in 2013. After much debate, it passed 8-6.
Here's what else is on the agenda for Wednesday night's city council meeting:
- An annual event to celebrate Hamilton's "culinary entrepreneurs." This is also a Merulla motion.
- Mayor Fred Eisenberger is proposing a land development task force to take a close look at what to do with city land.
- Ratifying a bylaw that requires payday loan outlets to let people know up-front the cost of borrowing and other details to inform the consumer.
- Ratifying a zoning change for a 21-storey, mixed-use building at 46-52 James St. N. that includes 146 student apartments.
CBC Hamilton reporter Samantha Craggs will tweet live from the meeting. Follow her tweets at @SamCraggsCBC or in the window below.