The County of Grande Prairie is expressing concerns regarding the future of RCMP costs to the municipality. As the new rural policing model sets in across the province, County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says there is some confusion regarding some existing service contracts with the Justice Ministry.
“With the new police funding model that all municipalities now will be contributing to, it does talk about giving recognition and credit for some of the Enhanced [officers] that we have but those are a contract that we have through the solicitor general and the justice office,” she says. “We’re just looking for clarification on what that contract will look like in the future.”
“It’s still very much up in the air… we wanted to make sure that both the minister of municipal affairs and solicitor general’s offices give us more clarification so that we can make sure we’re budgeting appropriately as well as understanding what the costs of these positions are to the municipality.”
In 2019, the provincial government announced it would be adding 500 RCMP positions and 300 front-line officers in rural communities, though those same affected municipalities would begin paying a portion of overall policing costs. Under the current model, municipalities that were never previously responsible for paying policing costs are now covering 10 per cent of the bill. This will increase to 30 per cent by 2023.
Beaupre adds the new model is now yet another expenditure tacked onto rural municipalities from the province, while discussions regarding potential changes to the oil and gas assessment model are still ongoing.
“This all goes back to the province’s exploration around changing the assessment model for oil and gas companies,” she says. “What we have we don’t want to lose, and we want clarification on how we’ll pay for them in the future.”
Beaupre says the County has yet to establish consistently open lines of communication with recently appointed Justice Minister, Kaycee Madu.