WATERLOO REGION – The Waterloo Regional Police Department files a request for an additional $ 12.4 million in 2022 to the regional council on Monday.

“I am a reformer, I believe in change, I believe in transformation, I believe in evolution,” said Police Chief Bryan Larkin. “But on the police budget for me that’s enough. We have to invest.

Last week, the Waterloo Region Police Services Board unanimously approved a tax increase of $ 12.4 million that would add 35 full-time equivalents for 2022.

Regional Council. Sean Strickland said he believes the Chief is trying to come up with a budget that serves the community, but won’t approve it without hesitation.

“We may need to make a change here or make a change there that we as elected officials believe more reflects the community’s ability to pay,” Strickland said.

Strickland said one possible change would be to phase in officer hires.

“I’m worried about sustainability and it’s been a refrain that I’ve been repeating for several years and I don’t know how long we can keep raising taxes,” he said.

Larkin said the lack of investment in previous years, a growing population, a rising violent crime rate, and benefits to helping officers treat trauma all helped justify the large budget request.

“In a world where we talk about mental health all the time, for some reason over the past two years, no one cares about the mental health of members of the police anymore,” he said.

Larkin added that the police have responsibilities imposed by the government.

Police pay continues to exceed that of all other municipal employees.

Larkin said the comparison was unfair and that he was fed up with the police budget being targeted.

Compensation in 2020 for the average police employee was $ 139,788 in salaries and benefits, compared to $ 98,023 for firefighters, paramedics and other municipal employees.

Adjusting for inflation, the gap between a police employee and a municipal employee increased to $ 41,764 in 2020, from $ 24,986 in 2013.

This analysis is based on compensation and employment data provided by municipal governments and adjusted by the Consumer Price Index in constant 2020 dollars.

Compensation represents about 90 percent of the police budget.

Waterloo Regional Police presented the proposed budget to Waterloo Region Council on Monday.

Regional President Karen Redman also chairs the Waterloo Region Police Services Board. After interview requests, she relies on the regional president of the Council budget. Helene Jowett.

“I never get to have expectations of an answer and I have expectations of in-depth discussion and lots of input,” Jowett said.

The regional council can approve the budget or send it back and request that the cost be changed, but cannot dictate the content of the budget.

If approved at the approved level, the police operating budget would reach $ 220.4 million, with just under $ 198 million coming from the regional tax levy. This is an increase in levies from around $ 185.3 million in 2021.

The service currently employs the equivalent of 1,210 civilians and sworn officers, according to a budget report.

The police budget is responsible for about 32 percent of the taxes collected by the region.

“This percentage has remained relatively constant over time,” said Craig Dyer, Chief Financial Officer for Waterloo Region.

Staff are proposing to increase taxes by 4.4 percent in the region, excluding police. This would increase the average homeowner’s taxes by $ 63. The regional council is expected to approve its budget, potentially including the police, on December 15. The police demand would add an additional $ 44 to the average tax bill.

The police capital budget is estimated at $ 42.4 million and includes $ 23.7 million for a new central division on Frederick Street in Kitchener.

If an agreement on the police budget cannot be reached, the police board has the option of taking the matter to the Ontario Civilian Police Board.

He would decide on the appropriate level of policing here and / or the appropriate budget.

Data Analysis by Jeff Outhit, Record Staff

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