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Manitoba Marathon asks city for help with policing bill

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Civic funds were found last year to cover the costs for the 2013 marathon.

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Civic funds were found last year to cover the costs for the 2013 marathon.

Organizers of the annual Fathers’ Day Manitoba Marathon are asking city hall for financial help to cover the costs of policing services.

In a formal request, Marathon organizers said they face a $20,000 policing bill from the Winnipeg Police Service – the first time the WPS has charged the non-profit group a fee for policing services.

In a letter to city hall from the Manitoba Marathon Foundation, the group says that a recent change in policy from the WPS means it expects to be billed $20,000 to cover the cost of having 56 uniform officers at controlled intersections along the marathon route.

"This is a huge amount to our event and represents a fee for a service which has been provided for over 35 years," Marathon official Shirley Lumb stated in a letter to the city. "The recent policy change by the Winnipeg Police Service that they will no longer utilize General Patrol officers for parade escorts or special event traffic control poses a significant impact on our event."

Marathon organizers want city hall to provide it with a grant of $15,000 – the equivalent of $1,000 from each ward councillor, adding they believe they can come up with the remaining $5,000 from participant fees and corporate sponsorship.

The executive policy committee will consider the request at its Wednesday morning meeting.

The Manitoba Marathon will be held June 15 this year. Funds raised from the annual event are directed to local groups that help individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Winnipeg Police have not yet responded to questions about the reason for the change in policy for charging community groups for its services.

Marathon officials could not be reached for comment.

According to financial data published on the Canada Revenue Agency website, the Manitoba Marathon paid out $14,000 more in expenses in 2012 than it took in revenue; with total revenue listed at $869,743, and expenses of $883,728.

Included in expenses for 2012 was a total of $773,918 paid to charities and qualified recipients.

Coun. Brian Mayes, chairman of the protection and community services committee and a member of EPC said, the funding request was directed to the senior committee as it didn’t make any sense for organizers to approach councillors individually, adding he hoped the city can find the money to cover the policing costs.

"We started charging (for policing services) last year," Mayes said, adding civic funds were found last year to cover the costs for the 2013 marathon. "It was funded on a one-time basis last year.

"This is when we should have the debate about are we going to fund this in the future or not."

Mayes said the WPS concluded it no longer could provide policing services for community events without charge.

"The police made the decision this was getting to the point where they need to start charging," Mayes said, adding other groups are also billed by the police.

The WPS billed the Bombers $169,000 in 2013 for policing services related to CFL games and other events at the new Investors Group Field.

Winnipeg police said late Tuesday they plan to respond to the Manitoba Marathon policing issue Wednesday.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 8:52 PM CDT: Adds that police will respond on Wednesday

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