Council entered into a 20-year municipal police service agreement with the RCMP March 26.
“Do we really have much of a choice?” asked Coun. Tracey Walker during council of signing the agreement presented to council less than a week before the current agreement expired on April 1, leaving council little time to review the new agreement.
“Discussions have been going on for quite some time,” said CAO Helen Dietz. “The AUMA (Alberta Urban Municipalities Association) have been present on our behalf,” she said of discussion over the new agreement. She said from what she's heard from some of the other municipalities, very few weren't going to pass it before the April 1 deadline.
“If we had any concerns it would the same as (the agreement) now where we can work with the Staff Sergeant to accomplish without any problems,” she added.
The new agreement is the result of ongoing negotiations between the federal and provincial government for the past four years and will maintain RCMP as the provincial police service for the next 20 years.
In a request for decision presented to council, it's stated that the majority of the terms and conditions from the 1992 agreement were maintained including the cost-share ratio of 70 per cent covered by municipalities under 15,000 and 30 per cent by the government. Also maintained is council's role in providing direction to the detachment commander for objectives, priorities and goals. The town also maintains control over the increases and decreases in the number of members and establishing the overall policing budget. Accommodations, maintenance and operating costs as well as support staff also stay part of the town's responsibility.
Changes include an enhanced reporting and accountability cost share by all provinces and municipal partners as well as legal advisory services costs.
Either party can break the agreement with two years' notice.
Council also approved the municipal policing assistance grant funding agreement that provides a base grant of $200,000 annually plus an additional $8 per capita from the Government of Alberta. This agreement is good for three years, which aligns with the province's budget cycle.
Interviews were held in mid-March for a new Staff Sergeant but no official announcements on who will take the currently vacated spot has been made.