MacDonald wants to know if public sentiment went into police budget

MacDonald wants to know if public sentiment went into police budget
Mark MacDonald addresses reporters outside city hall Friday.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Coun. Mark MacDonald wants to make sure the Cornwall Police Services board took public opinion into account before finalizing its massive 2015 draft budget.

MacDonald said at a city budget meeting Thursday it appears as though the police board didn’t take the time to address points made by the public during consultations last year.

MacDonald suggested it looked like the police draft budget was approved by its board in just one meeting – Wednesday.

“The public consultation shows there’s an issue with the disproportionate growth with emergency services,” he said, referring to police, fire and ambulance costs that at one point made up half of the municipal budget. “We should agree there is an issue we should be looking at.”

Coun. Andre Rivette, who is also chair of the police board, fired back, suggesting MacDonald was short on a few facts.

“There was more than one meeting before the budget was passed,” he said. “The board does their homework just like every other department.

“The bottom line is council is responsible for approving the dollars.”

MacDonald conceded his comments should not be taken as finger-pointing.

“Don’t take this as an attack. We are all in this together. We should be looking at the issues that have to be dealt with,” he said.

The Cornwall police draft budget sits at about $18 million – an increase of 1.49 per cent.

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