City councillors have approved Kingston’s 2020 operating budget, and it includes a big win for the local police — Murney the horse will be staying in action.
In a tweet sent out on Tuesday, Mayor Bryan Paterson said police Chief Antje McNeely and city staff have been able to adjust the city budget in order to keep the force’s mounted unit at a cost of $48,000.
On Wednesday, Paterson clarified that Murney will be funded by donations, sponsorships and other partnerships. Paterson also said the contributions cannot be made public yet, however agreements are in place.
The mayor says Murney is a great way to bridge connections between police and the community.
Murney’s place on the force was previously in jeopardy after McNeely announced Kingston police were looking to cut the mounted unit in order to fund the hiring of 10 new officers. However, a local business owner started an online petition to keep the force’s mounted unit, which has since garnered more than 1,100 signatures.
It will cost $400 million to run municipal programs and services next year, the city says.
The budget comes with a built-in property tax increase of 2.5 per cent, which works out to an extra $90 for the average homeowner next year.
— With files from Julie Brown and Kraig Krause