The Vernon RCMP budget for 2019 has been approved by city council.
It’s the biggest annual cost to city taxpayers and will add up to $9.4 million next year.
Superintendent Shawna Baher told council Wednesday the busy detachment is expected to handle 16-thousand files in Vernon alone this year and pointed to increased enforcement targetting drug traffickers in the city.
Chief administrative officer Will Pearce had already warned that the RCMP budget was expected to jump 14 percent year-over-year, mainly to account for six new officers approved by the last council.
Today, Baher said five of the six new police officers were now working out of the detachment, with the last officer to arrive December 8th.
Mayor Victor Cumming said the RCMP are “good value” given their 24-hour, seven-day a week service in Vernon.
During today’s budget session, council also approved a couple of other big 2019 budgets.
- Vernon Fire Rescue’s at $5.87-million, which also covers the cost of the emergency services program
- City Operations at $8.9-million
Vernon Fire Rescue Chief David Lind said that with dispatch services farmed out to Kelowna, his department had been able to hire five full-time firefighters.
While taxpayers had been facing a 5.57 percent tax increase, that has already dropped to 5.3 percent following information from BC Assessment on property values.
Next year’s tax increase has not yet been approved.
Budget deliberations continue.