Oak Bay Council approved the Oak Bay Police Department budget proposal for 2020, which increases from $4,955,371 in 2019 to $5,173,742 for 2020. (File Photo)

Oak Bay Council approved the Oak Bay Police Department budget proposal for 2020, which increases from $4,955,371 in 2019 to $5,173,742 for 2020. (File Photo)

Oak Bay approves 4.2 per cent police budget increase

$218,371 bump mostly based on salary increases

The proposed Oak Bay police budget for 2020 comes in with a provisional 4.2 per cent increase of $218,371.

Oak Bay council heard from Chief Andy Brinton last week about the bump in operating costs, which are “primarily salary driven.”

The overall budget would increase from $4,955,371 in 2019 to $5,173,742 for 2020. Council unanimously approved the budget so it can now be included in its 2020 budget.

Brinton broke down the four main areas that make up the cost increase. There’s a $27,233 for an increase to the hours of a part-time civilian position that manages front counter and police records duties, making it full time, and $21,426 for ‘forced growth factors.’ These come from increases in a range of areas, such as annual fees and subscriptions, Microsoft Office and evidence management software, internet data, CREST radio services, etc.

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The biggest portion of the increase (making up 2.5 of the 4.2 per cent) is a $102,653 bump “due to under funding of strength size” in 2019, when the police force ran without a full staff.

“[Our 2020] budgeting is for a full complement,” Brinton told council. “That’s the 2.5 per cent, so unfortunately it does show a spike of about 2.5 per cent which in a way, it’s artificial.”

The fourth piece is a $68,000 salary increase for officers who’ve hit career benchmarks.

Brinton also expects a decrease in the annual salary increases as the department continues to undergo turnover. The department swore in a new constable on Monday and plans to replace three more officers in the next year or two.

Oak Bay has 23 officers plus four officers seconded elsewhere, and a staff of four full-time civilians. The force issues about 1,500 traffic violation tickets per year.

reporter@oakbaynews.com