The mayors of Bromont, Louis Villeneuve, and of Brome Lake, Richard Burcombe, told the campaigning politicians that it would be in the two municipalities’ best interest to cut their police costs by 20% while offering the citizens of Brome Lake improved police services. “We want to be considered an exception,’’ pleaded TBL’s Mayor Richard Burcombe. “It’s a matter of common sense,’’ he told provincial politicians. “I can’t see how you cannot listen to us when we are talking of substantial savings and better services.’’
For his part, Bromont’s Mayor Louis Villeneuve stressed that no two other municipalities have more in common in terms of public security issues, territory and low crime rates. “Our situation is unique. We can better control our expenses while offering better services to citizens. All we are waiting for is the green light from Québec.’’
The major obstacle to this plan is the Police Act that imposes the SQ on towns of less than 50,000 people. So the mayors need political support to get a private bill through the National Assembly. François Legault, leader of Coalition Avenir Québec has already been approached, and the mayors promise that all party leaders and candidates in Brome-Missisquoi will be asked for their support during the election campaign.
Different police services
Bromont’s Police Chief, Jean Bourgeois told Tempo that a future joint Bromont-TBL police service would be community-oriented and TBL would receive the same services that are provided in Bromont. “At all times, there is a minimum of three police officers in service in Bromont,’’ said Bourgeois. Although he did not want to venture into whether more officers would have to be hired to cover TBL’s territory, he did confirm that TBL would get the same level of service that Bromont gets.
Mayor Burcombe, himself a former SQ police officer, was clear: “there would definitely be more police presence in Brome Lake’’ if the agreement with Bromont goes through.
At the present time, each TBL citizen pays $324 a year for police services as opposed to $126 for a citizen living in a comparable municipality in Québec.