02/08/2012 04:50 EST | Updated 04/09/2012 05:12 EDT

N.B. community gets big break on unpaid bill for policing since 1997

FREDERICTON - The New Brunswick government is going to cover $900,000 of the $2.6 million the town of Shippagan owes in delinquent payments for policing coverage by the RCMP.

The town began accumulating the bill in 1997 when a new billing agreement was reached with communities receiving policing from the Mounties.

Public Safety Deputy Minister Dale Wilson says Shippagan never signed that deal, and since 1997 the village has been paying what it felt was the appropriate amount — not what the province was asking to receive.

The province pays the bills to the RCMP and then bills municipalities for the cost.

He says after negotiations, the town has agreed to pay $1.7 million, and as of the start of this year, they will be expected to pay the full amount of their annual bills.

Opposition finance critic Donald Arseneault says the huge write-off is not fair to other communities who have been paying their bills in full.