Victoria city councillors need more information to find funds for the provincially-mandated hire of six new Victoria police officers (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Six new police officers add $300,000 to Victoria’s 2019 budget

Amid budget decisions council received a provincial mandate to hire more officers for VicPD

The City of Victoria and the Township of Esquimalt must figure out how to fund six new police officers after the province mandated the municipalities uphold the Victoria Police Department’s 2018 budget request.

On Wednesday afternoon the Police Services Division wrote both municipalities with its decision to side with the VicPD request to hire six more officers, a request that was initially denied in 2018 due to Esquimalt’s decision to veto the cost.

RELATED: Province sides with VicPD in decision to hire six more officers

For 2019 this will total to $40,000 for Esquimalt, and $300,000 for Victoria, as recruitment of officers will likely not occur until September. In subsequent years, Victoria city council was told on Thursday morning that costs for these officers will be $667,000 in 2020 – due to a one-time cost of $60,000 – and $606,000 in subsequent years.

So far Esquimalt council has not heard a presentation on the budget from the police department, but Victoria has already voted to cut $858,000 and asked for a revised budget. The move is something that Chief Const. Del Manak had previously said could put up to nine jobs at risk.

READ MORE: Nine jobs at the Victoria Police Department at risk after budget decision

In a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, Victoria city councillors debated two aspects of the upcoming revisions.

First, the Victoria Police Board had asked the City to reconsider including the newly implemented Employer Health Tax onto the budget. VicPD was unhappy that it was the only city department responsible for fronting the cost, which totals $690,000, and was hoping to have it excluded from its budget. The $690,000 had already been calculated for in the City’s proposed 4.3 per cent tax hike.

“The Employers Health Tax is a game changer for us,” said Manak. “That obviously would significantly impact the reduction of services.”

Manak noted that in other municipalites, including Saanich, the city is responsibile for covering this cost, not the police department.

ALSO READ: Grumpy Taxpayers criticize Saanich police request for five per cent budget increase

Secondly, the City had to decide where to find the extra $300,000 for the six new officers.

Coun. Ben Isitt asked if there was any more funds available from newly-assessed revenues or surpluses, but was told by city staff that all new funds had already been allocated by council in previous meetings. This means that either funds will have to be re-allocated, or another tax increase could be put in place if budgets can’t be shuffled.

Isitt then called into question some of the proposed police costs, including whether the $885,000 to replace police vehicles was really necessary.

ALSO READ: VicPD cuts school liaison program over budget impasse with Esquimalt

“If a family experiences a one-time unexpected expenditure it’s very common in households to hold off on expenditures; buy a used car… defer a vacation,” Isitt said. “In a $55 million budget, I think to find $600,000 worth of savings could be described as challenging, but not an impossible or unreasonable task.”

Coun. Jeremy Loveday felt that there wasn’t enough information available to decide what to do, expressing frustration that council still had not seen a revised police budget after two requests.

Ultimately council voted to have the police department draw up two new versions of a revised budget; one including the costs of the six officers and the Employer Health Tax, and one excluding the Employer Health Tax.

The police are expected to have the budget revisions ready by the end of March, or early April at the latest.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

City of VictoriaVicPD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

VicPD to reopen front counter services on Monday

No masks provided, but encouraged to be worn

Oak Bay pandemic project gets 300 submissions

Gage Gallery exhibit shows how people cope during crisis

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read