Prince Albert police reduce operating budget by $200K

The Prince Albert Police Service is reducing its budget by $200,000 as the city wrestles with ways to alleviate its $2 million funding shortfall.

Funding reduction follows city's $2M funding shortfall

The City of Prince Albert is facing a $2 million funding shortfall, which has prompted a $200,000 reduction in the 2017 police budget. (CBC News)

The Prince Albert Police Service has announced it has reduced its 2017 budget by $200,000, but says that will not "significantly" impact core services.

In a press release, the police service said the budget reduction was prompted by the City of Prince Albert's $2 million funding shortfall after the province axed its grants-in-lieu program, which saw the Crown corporations SaskEnergy and SaskPower make payments to cities, in the last budget.

Police Chief Troy Cooper said the city's budget committee instructed police to find the savings — which reduced their funding from $16,079,440 to $15,879,440.

The release said the savings were found through "unplanned vacancies" and "temporary officer secondments."

Alanna Adamko, communications strategist for the the Prince Albert police service, said there was an unexpected resignation by one officer. As a cost-saving measure, that position will not be filled in the interim.

"As well, I believe there were some workers' compensation claims where officers were temporarily off, or re-assigned to other duties," she said.

"Basically, the savings from those positions is what we're using to compensate for the $200,000 in budget reductions for 2017," she said.

In addition, to minimize effects to core services, she said staff members were relocated to temporarily fill holes.

The press release said the savings were a temporary measure until more difficult decisions will have to be made with next year's operating budget. 

The police service says 87 per cent of its operating budget is wages, salaries and benefits.

"Asking us to cut budgets further — for a police service that is one of the most active in the province — while maintaining public safety — will be extremely challenging," Cooper said in the release.