At press time, aldermen voted in favour of reconsidering a prior vote to oppose pre-approval of the 2011 police budget.
After city hall voted 8-7 against the pre-approval of the Calgary Police Service budget two weeks ago, the intense public relations battle between public safety and fiscal prudence landed once again in council’s lap.
Subtle allegations of fear-mongering over officer cuts, and demands the city’s police service be treated no different than any other city business unit, when faced with the city’s $60 million shortfall, came to the forefront in last night’s debate.
“I bristle a little bit when I hear public safety is the most important thing,” said Ald. Joe Ceci.
“If there wasn’t clean water, if the sewage wasn’t treated, if the garbage wasn’t picked up — every person in this municipality would either be sick or move away — so why isn’t that important? It’s kind of pitting one thing against another.”
Mayor Dave Bronconnier stepped aside from the chair to offer his own take on the issue.
“Now, if I were the chief of police — and I am not — personally I would’ve hired all those officers. And I would have then suggested to city council to then go ahead and tell me to lay them off,” he said.
At the final deadline, aldermen were debating how to accommodate amendments to ensure officer levels were maintained.