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

TPR is providing an unedited livestream of today’s Hamilton Police Services Board meeting.

The Hamilton Police Services Board is meeting at noon today to conduct its first line-by-line review of the proposed 2024 Hamilton Police budget.

The meeting was forced by a 12-3 vote of City Council instructing the Board to review the budget.

Yesterday, Monday, Hamilton Police Services Board Administrator Kristen Stevenson announced the public meeting will be closed to the public and media. The Board claims there are no available meeting facilities in Hamilton.

TPR arrived at City Hall three hours in advance of the meeting and have set up livestreaming gear.

Section 35 of the Police Services Act states all meetings of the Police Services Board shall be open to the public. There is no authority in law for the Hamilton Police Service to remove TPR from the public meeting room.

Line-By-Line Review of $5-million in spending

Police Board members Ward 2 Councillor Cameron Kroetsch and Council civilian appointee Dr. Anjali Menezes are proposing a series of motions that, if passed, will remove approximately $5-million from the budget.

  • Ending the HPS Cable TV subscriptions: $19,600
  • Ending HPS funding of retiree events: $19,400
  • Defer a redesign of the HPS website: $100,000
  • No conduct a Community Satisfaction Survey: $60,000
  • End SurveyMonkey license: $1,900  (and look at using the City of Hamilton’s survey practices)
  • Reduce office supplies budget by $347,254.75 by set police office supplies to the same per employee spend as the City of Hamilton’s for all its employees.
  • Deferring repairs to the Mountain police station parking lot: $500,000
  • End the Mounted Unit: $914,068
  • Remove funding for ceremonial units: $37,300
  • Remove funding for two police constables in the Corporate Communications & Public Affairs section: $243,852.68
  • Remove the Advertising & Promotion (55401) budget line: $118,100
  • Defer planned 2024 hiring of 22 FTE sworn officers to consideration for 2025 budget: $740,949.60

Kroestch and Menezes will also move to use 60 percent of the police budget reserves, $2,612,630.11, to lower the 2024 tax levy for the police budget.

“Once Council sent the budget back in a vote of 12-3, Dr. Menezes and I submitted dozens of detailed questions about the 2024 budget to the Chief. He responded and provided greater clarity on individual budget line items and general expenses. In our view, there are many potential areas for savings and while we can’t direct the Chief on specific operational decisions, the budget is ultimately the Board’s responsibility. We’ve made recommendations to increase the overall fiscal accountability of the budget, which is our duty as members of the Board,” wrote Kroetsch in a statement on Monday.