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City could claw back cash for cadets

By Jen Skerritt

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Winnipeg may claw back a portion of its funding to the Downtown BIZ if they cannot reach a funding agreement over the police cadets patrols in the city's downtown.

Last July, police cadets assumed responsibility of the Downtown BIZ's community outreach patrol program.

The BIZ patrols started in 2006 and pick up about 3,000 people a year, taking people who are passed out or intoxicated to their homes or safe places such as the Main Street Project.

Protection and community services chairman Coun. Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) said the Downtown BIZ made a public commitment of $100,000 a year when the city decided police cadets would take over the program. While the organization paid the sum for 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, Fielding said the Downtown BIZ has not paid for the second quarter of 2013 or signed a formal funding agreement with the city.

Fielding said the city does not plan to pull the cadets out of the downtown and he's hopeful the BIZ will fulfill their obligation. If not, he said the city will examine its options — which may include clawing back a portion of the city's annual funding to the Downtown BIZ to cover the $100,000 cost of the cadets.

Council's protection and community services committee laid the matter over for another month.

"We might not have made the decisions we made a year ago if we knew the funding commitment wouldn't be there," Fielding said this morning.

Downtown BIZ executive director Stefano Grande said the BIZ is still trying to negotiate an agreement and recently sent a letter to the city on behalf of their board. Grande said he is unable to provide further details, but the organization remains very committed to the cadet program.

"We value the city as a partner," he said this afternoon.

History

Updated on Monday, April 8, 2013 at 11:14 AM CDT: clarifies that a portion of funding to Downtown BIZ may be clawed back, not all

1:45 PM: adds BIZ executive director quotes

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