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City council greenlights 5.66% police budget hike

A decisive city council vote of 8-3 saw the Greater Sudbury Police Service 2023 budget of $72.7 million approved during the first day of municipal budget talks on Wednesday, which also saw them approve an almost $10-million library budget and a 4.8 per cent water/wastewater rate increase
City finance and administration committee chair (and Ward 9 Coun.) Deb McIntosh is seen during Wednesday’s budget meeting, which was the first in a series of meetings in which the city’s elected officials are anticipated to hash out Greater Sudbury’s 2023 budget.

A decisive vote of 8-3 saw city council approve the Greater Sudbury Police Service’s 2023 budget hike of 5.66 per cent during the first day of budget deliberations on Wednesday.

Their support follows the Greater Sudbury police board unanimously approving the $72.7-million 2023 police budget last month.

Prior to budget talks, city council asked their service partners to keep within a 3.7 per cent budget increase, which the Greater Sudbury Police Service budget exceeded by $1.38 million.

By exceeding this guideline, the police budget bumped the city’s projected 2023 tax levy increase from 3.7 per cent to approximately 4.1 per cent.

The police budget includes hiring 10 additional sworn members this year as part of a three-year effort to bolster their ranks by 24. They’ve also budgeted for the hiring of two special constables to work the GSPS front desk, and greenlit the Citizens on Patrol program’s limited return.

Of the city’s elected officials, only Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini, Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent and Ward 7 Coun. Natalie Labbée voted against approving the police budget.

Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier and Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc did not attend Wednesday’s finance and administration committee meeting in-person or virtually, so did not vote.

Although the committee’s decision on the police budget came without debate, connected with both Parent and Labbée (Vagnini attended virtually) after the vote took place to find out why they voted as they did.

Parent said his vote had to do with the “big picture” of the city and the fact they exceeded city council's 3.7-per-cent increase ceiling.

Citing a “significant gap” in things such as capital expenditure toward municipal roads and that city administration managed to pare their proposed budget down to 3.7 per cent despite it taking a great deal of maneuvering, he said police should have managed to do the same. 

Voting no was a similarly straightforward decision for Labbée.

“I think they can do better,” she said, adding that 3.7 per cent was a more reasonable number she believes residents would have been better able to absorb. 

Citing similar rationale, neither Parent nor Labbée voted in favour of the Greater Sudbury Public Library board’s 7.4 per cent budget boost either, which brings the library’s annual budget to almost $10 million.

Joining them in a “no” vote for the library budget was Vagnini and Ward 4 Coun. Pauline Fortin. The library budget passed with a vote of 7-4. 

By the end of Wednesday night’s marathon four-and-a-half-hour budget meeting, the city’s elected officials had bumped the 2023 tax levy increase to approximately 4.5 per cent by approving a handful of business cases for service level increases.

With several more business cases to get through, the final budget increase could go up or down during Thursday night’s budget talks, which begin at 4 p.m. 

Some of the remaining business cases up for debate call for service level increases that would bump the tax increase higher, while others call for service level reductions that would decrease the tax burden.

Greater Sudbury city council’s ongoing series of budget-related finance and administration committee meetings have been classified as a singular meeting. As such, any decisions made can be revisited at subsequent meetings with a majority vote of city council (If they were separate meetings, a 2/3 vote would be required for a reconsideration).

This means much of what they decide will remain fluid until the series of meetings concludes.

That is, except for water/wastewater rates, which Wednesday’s finance and administration committee approved to increase by 4.8 per cent and a subsequent city council vote ratified.

City council was unanimous in approving the water/wastewater hike, which is in keeping with the city’s long-term financial plan. That is, except for Leduc and Montpellier, who were absent, and Vagnini, who attended the meeting virtually but did not respond to a request for his vote. will publish a robust report on more of city council’s 2023 budget decisions in the coming days.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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