Planning for policing bump

Council and staff in Oliver will begin budget planning later this month, and included in those discussions will be heightened RCMP costs that are expected in the near future. 

Communities with a population greater than 5,000 people pay 70 per cent of RCMP costs for their area, while communities under that threshold pay just 30 per cent.

Oliver's population was at 4,928 on the 2016 census, but the town's mayor Ron Hovanes said the population is likely above 5,000 now.

Residents in Oliver won't be required to pay the upped policing costs until the population is formally counted next in 2022, after the next national census in 2021.

"Our student population has increased, so it's pretty much a given we are over (5,000)," Hovanes said. "We missed a bullet."

A report presented to council on Tuesday shows that policing would cost taxpayers in Oliver an extra $600,000 annually with a population greater than 5,000.

That report from Devin Wannop, Oliver's Chief Financial Officer, indicated that paying into a reserve fund would be a plausible way to offset the extra policing costs in five years.

Several funding scenarios were brought to council, but no decisions are set in stone yet according to Hovanes.

"I think we're leaning to doing something now, starting saving now and raising taxes. But we asked our chief financial officer to make sure it's part of our budget discussions," he said. "We haven't made a decision."

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