RCMP to cost thousands more

The City of Kelowna will have to add more than $100,000 to the 2012 budget in order to satisfy their portion of the new RCMP contract.

The 20-year contract, signed by the provincial government March 21, kicks in April 1 of this year.

Under terms of the deal that Kelowna Council will review Monday, the city will have to pay an additional $105,000, pro-rated for 2012 for RCMP services. The actual full year cost is $140,000.

That amounts to an additional tax increase of about 0.11 per cent on top of the 0.11 per cent increase approved in the provisional budget back in January.

About $200,000 may have to be added to the 2013 budget as part of the city's share of the proposed new E-Division Headquarters building in Surrey.

"We would have to pay for the administrative staff that look after all RCMP contracts in British Columbia," says city Finance Director, Keith Grayston.

"It's not a certainty, it's still under discussion."

Grayston says those additional funds are a worst case scenario.

The city has had the contract document for a little over two weeks and staff is recommending council sign off on the agreement.

Grayston says there is really nothing in the contract that surprised city officials.

"We've been getting updates as its gone along. The transparency issues, the accountability issues were very important," says Grayston.

"Certainly the municipalities would have liked to have had cost reductions, but we saw early on in the negotiations that the federal government was not prepared to pull costs out of it. Any cost reduction initiatives will have to be done in discussions between municipalities and the province."

Grayston says the new buzz words are cost control and cost containment.

He says policing costs have increased quicker than most other municipal costs.

"We were on a trend that really wasn't sustainable so we were looking for some support from the province or the federal government in reducing some of those costs. If we can contain them (costs) and have them increase at an inflationary pace then maybe that's the best we can do."

Regular salary increases are not directly included in the contract the city has received, however, Grayston says there is a clause for how salaries will be determined.

"With the management committee we hope we will have an opportunity to provide a bit more input into that aspect as well."

Municipalities around the province that receive policing from the RCMP have until the end of April to sign the new contract.

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