Sarnia Police Headquarters on Christina St. at Exmouth St. (BlackburnNews.com File Photo by Briana Carnegie)

City police spending up nearly three per cent

Sarnia’s police services board has approved a 2019 budget that carries an increase of just under three per cent.

Spending in the $23,853,954 budget is up $683,118 over last year, a hike of 2.95 per cent.

Police Chief Norm Hansen said factors driving up costs include 10-year capital plan funding, and putting money in reserves to replace equipment when needed.

He said $2,761,000 is for the updating of the communication system.

“If we’re replacing a component, let’s say, in our communication centre, there’s no sense in us replacing it with the same component,” said Hansen. “We might as well prepare for the next wave of technology.”

Salaries, benefits, and overtime are other major factors in the budget.

Chief Hansen said they’ve also had to replace their Emergency Response Team (ERT) vests at a cost of $50,000.

“We had to replace them because they have an expiry date. So things like that come up every once in a while, we just have to put it into the budget, figure out where we can take things away, and where we can add things,” he said.

The police budget will be considered by city council during its deliberations December 11.