REGINA -- City council has voted to approve the proposed Regina Board of Police Commissioners budget for 2020.

The proposed budget included estimated gross operating expenditures of $96,028,900 and revenues of $10,399,600 which results in a net operating budget of $85,629,300.

The 2020 net operating budget is up $3,125,000 from the 2019 budget, a 3.79 per cent rise.

Four frontline constable positions would be added to police staff in 2020, along with six civilian positions.

Police also requested $600,000 to fund “Grey Cup Special Duty” assignments and equipment expenses.

Ward 10 councillor Jerry Flegel began the night with a motion not to approve the proposed police budget as it stands.

Councillors questioned Regina Police Chief Evan Bray about the budget contents, mainly focusing on the number of frontline officers and the impact more officers in certain areas would have.

Bray said the police service currently has around 171 officers per 100,000 people in the city. He said the city needs around 20 more officers per 100,000 people.

Any additional funding the police service received would be best put towards staffing according to Bray, including putting more officers on the street, calling frontline staff a priority.

He added the proposed budget was put forth to council with realistic numbers for what RPS needs, taking into account the financial climate in the city.

Councillor Joel Murray motioned to refer the questions and concerns raised during the deliberations to the 2021 police budget. Council asked for considerations and revisions in the next budget that better reflect the challenges and pressures facing the Regina Police Service.

Council subsequently approved the Police budget for 2020 after another round of questions for Chief Bray about general policing issues and challenges. The budget passed eight to three.