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

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

Just Posted

Greater Victoria is ranked fourth out of 27 Canadian cities for the best places for youth to work in, according to a RBC report. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria among best Canadian cities for youth to work in, says RBC report

Region ranked fourth out of 27, behind Vancouver, Hamilton and Edmonton

Saanich police reported an increase in violent crimes and a drop in traffic incidents in the first three months of 2021 compared to the final quarter of 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police report increase in violent crimes during first quarter of 2021

More domestic violence, less property crime and distracted driving compared to end of 2020

Donna Brower (left) and her daughter Carol Anne Penner, members of the Silver Swans – a quilting group of 12 ladies who meet at the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary – with a mountain of masks they sewed. (Photo submitted by Julia Dawson)
Saanich quilting group nabs first prize in Volunteer BC photo contest

Silver Swans sewing club raised more than $12,000 for Swan Lake nature sanctuary

The City of Victoria is proposing a northern contraction from Haultain Street to Bay Street with a western contraction from Cook Street to Chambers Street for Fernwood. (Illustration/Google Maps)
Community association calls for input on Victoria boundary changes

City of Victoria proposes changes to neighbourhood borders

After seizing a handgun from his home on Tuesday, Victoria police arrested a wanted man on Wednesday after he fled officers on his bike. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man wanted on several warrants flees Victoria officers on bike

He was arrested after a brief struggle, transported to hospital with injuries

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
Coquitlam teacher suspended after messaging students online, calling them ‘cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Scenes like this one in the dugout are all too frequent for parents and kids arriving to play baseball at Nunns Creek Park these days, spurring a request to the city to let them move to the Sportsplex in Willow Point. Photo from CRMB presentation to City of Campbell River
Needles, feces and the unhoused send Island kids baseball program to greener pastures

Campbell River minor baseball program switches ballparks over growing safety concerns

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for 2nd doses

Health officials say the change is due to the limited availability of the vaccine

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Most Read