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No final decision yet on police, library and health unit budgets

Greater Sudbury police want a 5.66% budget increase, Public Health Sudbury and Districts wants 3.17% more in municipal funding and the Greater Sudbury Public Library board seeks a 7.4% jump in municipal funds

The police, library and health unit budgets were presented to limited response from city council during tonight’s finance and administration committee meeting.

City council decisions are not expected until Feb. 15, Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh explained to the committee prior to the budget presentations.

During the meeting, McIntosh, the committee’s longtime vice-chair, was elected as chair alongside Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier as the new vice-chair.

“We are not approving any budgets today,” she clarified prior to the day’s presentations, noting the city’s elected officials have a month to do research and ask questions before making their final decision.

In advance of 2023 budget preparations, the previous city council asked the city’s service partners to limit their budget increases to 3.7 per cent, which two of today’s three presenters failed to do.

Conservation Sudbury has pared their original 7.2-per-cent budget increase down to 3.7 per cent, according to Ward 4 Coun. Pauline Fortin, who is on the Conservation Sudbury board. 

Tonight, Public Health Sudbury and Districts presented a budget requiring a 3.17-per'cent increase in funding from the city, the police board presented a 5.66-per-cent budget increase, and the Greater Sudbury Public Library board presented a 6.7-per-cent budget increase requiring a 7.4 per cent municipal funding increase.

During his time at the microphone, police Chief Paul Pedersen reiterated the key points highlighted in budget presentations he has delivered to the police board in recent weeks, along with the 2023 budget the board unanimously approved on Jan. 12.

This version of the budget brings it to $72.7 million and maintains a direction to bring on 24 additional sworn members within three years, including 10 in 2023.

The approved budget would also allow for the hiring of two special constables this year to work the GSPS front desk, which will free up two officers to work the front line on patrol. An additional two are planned for next year.

The Citizens on Patrol program was also greenlit to return on a limited basis, at a budgeted expense of $54,642 in 2023.

In response to the proposed police budget, Black Lives Matter Sudbury came out to “firmly denounce” the financial boost in a statement provided to

Rather than more police officers, they said “Sudbury needs social services that will respond to the needs of its population with community care.”

They called on city council to reject the proposed budget and fund a “town hall meeting to be led by those most affected by policing in order to craft and finance a community-based and accountable plan to keep community members safe.”

Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti asked Pedersen his response to the Black Lives Matter Sudbury push to shift 10 per cent of police funding toward other services, such as mental health.

“It’s always difficult,” Pedersen said. “It’s not lost on us that policing is expensive.”

In many cases, he said police are the only ones who can respond to calls.

“If we’re not able to invest in more proactive, preventative upstream work we’re not going to be able to meet the expectations of our community.”

Elsewhere in his presentation, Pedersen said the staffing boost will also help front-line staff, who “are feeling the impacts of being pulled in many directions.”

During his remarks, Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre said it’s important the proposed boost in Greater Sudbury police staffing levels is approved because there are only 0.08 officers per square kilometre.

“It’s important because we don’t have enough officers geographically to be able to do what we need to do,” he said.

There were no other expressions of agreement or dissent around council chambers tonight regarding the police budget.

The proposed Greater Sudbury Public Library budget is $9.93 million, which is a 6.7-per-cent increase from 2022 and would require a 7.4-per-cent jump in their City of Greater Sudbury operating grant due to an anticipated freeze in provincial funding and three per cent reduction of other revenue.

“The pressures we’re seeing in our budget are really areas out of our control,” library CEO Brian Harding said, citing a number of fixed cost increases.

However, their proposed budget boost also includes the addition of one full-time administrative co-ordinator to support the library board, CEO and managers.

Public Health Sudbury and Districts medical officer of health and CEO Dr. Penny Sutcliffe presented its 2023 operating budget of $28.5 million, which will require a 3.17-per-cent jump in City of Greater Sudbury funding ($247,793) to fill.

No decisions were made regarding these budget requests during tonight’s committee meeting, at which city administration’s proposed 2023 budget was also tabled following city council's direction for a 3.7-per-cent tax increase, maximum. 

The city’s elected officials are expected to begin debating the proposed budget next month, with a decision on the police, library and health board budgets expected on Feb. 15.

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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