A Cornwall firefighter scales an aerial ladder to reach the top of a burning multi-plex on Montreal Road last year.
CORNWALL, Ontario – While the cost of keeping Cornwall residents and their property safe continues to go up, the amount of the entire city budget that makes up things like police, fire and paramedics has actually decreased.
The city’s budget steering committee learned Monday protective services makes up about 47 per cent of the budget - totalling $28.5 million.
In the previous three years the number was closer to 50 per cent – which meant that half of the tax dollars in Cornwall went to paying the costs of police, fire and paramedics.
“We’re getting away from that a little bit,” said city finance manager Maureen Adams. “That has really helped the city overall to meeting the goals during the budget process.”
But the bill for the services will still be a staggering $28.5 million in 2014. The costs, driven mostly by salaries and benefits, are $17.7 million for police, $8.7 million for fire and $2.1 million for paramedics.
Those numbers were $17.3 million, $8.4 million and $2 million, respectively, in 2013.
“It’s within what we said it should be,” said budget steering committee chair Denis Carr, suggesting in areas like police salary increases were kept low (2.75 per cent in 2013) compared to other agencies liked the OPP (eight per cent). “They’re not getting any special deals here.”
**This story corrects an earlier item that contained an inaccurate figure.**