Two Hamilton Police Cruiser cars on a street.
Two Hamilton Police cruisers in August 2017 Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

The Hamilton Police Service says it needs a 6.71 percent increase to its budget for 2023 to provide “adequate and effective police services.”

HPS’ overbudget will be $195,851,008. The approved 2022 budget was $183,542,539.

City of Hamilton budget projections for 2023, which predict an overall property tax increase of 6.9 percent, assumed a 2.1 percent increase to the police budget.

Hamilton Police’s 2022 spending is on track to be close to budget.

At end of September, 72.83% of the annual budget was spent. Hamilton Chief of Police Frank Bergen’s November budget variance report states, “Net Budget is within target for the period.”

2023’s budget proposal is split between $190,020,482 for operating (up from $180,133,354 in 2022) and $5,830,526 (up from $3,409,185).

13 new police officer positions are proposed in the budget, along with 18 new civilian employees.

Salary and benefit increases account for $5.12M of the operating budget increase.

Other employee costs, including hiring new police officers and civilian employees, account for $3.31M. Overall, employee costs are $8.43M of the requested $9.89M operating budget increase request.

Hamilton Police state the service needs to hire 13 new officers each year until 2030 to match population growth and maintain “the current Cop-to-Pop (population) ratio of 146 Officers per 100,000 population”. This average is 176 across Ontario and 183 nationally.

Capital projects to be funded in this budget include roof replacement for the downtown police status, parking lot replacement at the East Hamilton station, and annual vehicle replacement.

The police budget does not include the next-generation 9-1-1 call centre project. Funding for the police portion of the upgrade project is included in the City of Hamilton capital budget.

Ward 2 City Councillor Cameron Kroestch voted against the proposed budget according to the minutes of the November 29 Police Board budget committee meeting.

The meeting was held with no public notice.

The seven-member police board will vote on the budget proposal during their meeting this Thursday.

Mayor Andrea Horwath, Kroestch, and Ward 7 Councillor Esther Pauls are council members on the Board. Fred Bennink is the Council civilian member appointee. The other three members, appointed by the provincial government, are Patrica Mandy, Mel Athulathmudali, and Robert George Elms.

The 2023 police budget can be read as part of the Police Board agenda package here. Item 8.2.

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Published: December 13, 2022
Last edited: December 13, 2022
Author: Joey Coleman
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