Saskatchewan

Regina police post $92M budget for 2019, includes expense for STC depot

The Regina Police Service's proposed 2019 operating and capital budgets have been released and will be deliberated as part of city council's decision on spending for the upcoming fiscal year.

Police to pay $280K for operation and maintenance of STC facility

The Regina Police Service is eyeing an operating budget of $92 million for the 2019 fiscal year. (Alec Salloum/CBC)

As Regina police plan to spend more in 2019, one city councillor is questioning the sustainability of the budget increases. 

According to 2019 operating and capital budget documents, $92 million is earmarked for the Regina Police Service's operational spending, up nearly $5 million from the current year. 

Staffing continues to be the single largest expenditure of the department's operating cost with 590 permanent and 10 casual full-time equivalents, eating up $82 million of its $92-million budget, documents show. 

Ward 3 Coun. Andrew Stevens says budgeting for police is tricky but questions whether it's time to discuss how sustainable the rising costs are for policing.

"The problem is we might want to ask how sustainable is this type of budget and this type of budget increase," said Ward 3 Coun. Andrew Stevens, who has wondered why money is not spent to tackle the "social determinants" of crime rather than fund a response to it .

"It's not easy. It's a tough one to tackle. It's probably the most complex issue."

Last year, the city of Regina announced it would buy the former STC depot and two neighbouring parking lots from the provincial government — a purchase the government approved at a cost of $16.25 million. (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC News)

A Regina police spokesperson said the chief was not available to speak to the budget when asked by CBC. 

STC building new expense for police

In terms of new costs for 2019, police expect to spend $280,000 for operating and maintaining the former Saskatchewan Transportation Company bus depot, set to be renovated to become the new, expanded RPS headquarters, at a site across the street.

"This new expenditure accounts for 37 per cent of the non-salary budget increase," documents read. 

In November 2017, the city purchased the former STC depot as part of a plan to transform the facility, now called HQ West into part of police's home base. 

"If you have another building that's another building to clean, that's another building to staff. That's another building to heat and manage; of course it's going to go up," said Stevens. 

"So now all of a sudden you've gone from labour costs that are already escalating to now another building, I just assumed that operating costs were going to go up and here we are."

Other police operating costs for 2019 include money for information technology software, an increase in fuel prices as well as nearly $40,000 for education and training in regards to Truth and Reconciliation, major case management, and investigative techniques. 

On the capital side, police plan to spend around $4 million on equipment and facility upgrades, including replacement of some of its vehicle fleet. 

During the passing of the 2018 budget, police chief Evan Bray signalled he wanted to hire 34 more officers. 

About the Author

Stephanie Taylor

Reporter, CBC Saskatchewan

Stephanie Taylor is a reporter based in Saskatchewan. Before joining CBC News in Regina, she covered municipal politics in her hometown of Winnipeg and in Halifax. Reach her at stephanie.taylor@cbc.ca

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