The Lacombe Police Service (LPS) and the City of Lacombe have come to a compromise on a deduction to the 2019 police budget.
Originally, the City was looking to cut LPS by around $50,000 but a presentation and discussion in Council with Chief Lorne Blumhagen has led to a $25,000 cut — a more manageable number for LPS according to Blumhagen.
“What actually happened at the end of the day with Council is that they changed the $50,000 to a $25,000 reduction,” he said. “They did stray from the original reduction and a $25,000 cut is fairly minimal overall.
“Looking into the future, it is easier to offset $25,000 than it is $50,000. It will have a low impact on anything we are doing and our service delivery will not be impacted at all.”
Blumhagen said a $50,000 reduction would have resulted in LPS playing catch-up on several capital expenditures including vehicle replacement.
“In the near future it will have little impact but moving forward it may have some impact and may make it harder for ourselves to acquire capital replacements or for Council considering increased costs on future purchases,” he said. “In the short term it will not have a whole lot of effect and will definitely not affect any service delivery issues.”
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Blumhagen, however, was understanding of Council’s want to keep taxation around inflation (consumer price index).
“I think it will be a year by year assessment whether Council will be looking at meeting some of our increased costs or cutting us back to meet their goals,” he said. “We are dealing with a $4.8 million budget and the net is about $3.3 million, so our overall increase was around $168,000 — so a cut of $50,000 to our overall Budget isn’t overly significant and they did increase our Budget overall.
“It just wasn’t as big as we had originally requested.”
With the revamped deduction, Blumhagen said the 2019 police budget can go forward as planned
“We have one additional member for 2019 and that is still going forward,” he said. “We will anticipate all our strategic and human resources plans are going to move forward as set and we can deal with $25,000 in 2020 and 2021.
“We have time to prepare for that and adjust our financial needs.”