Tuesday, January 25, 2022

RCMP contract costs driving proposed 4.35% property tax increase in Langley City

Langley City CPO

All municipalities in BC, including Langley City, are going through the process of adopting their 2022 financial plan and budget. Like most municipalities in BC, a significant driver of this year’s property tax increase is RCMP costs.

Since 2017, the City has known that the National Police Federation and the federal government have been negotiating their first collective agreement. As such, Langley City Council has approved increasing the policing budget an additional 2.5% over the last five years in anticipation of increased policing costs resulting from the collective agreement.

Even with this built-in buffer, the City needs an additional $1.54 million this year to cover the now completed collective agreement.

I fully support unions and the right to collective bargaining.

Langley City and Township contract the RCMP to provide policing services to our communities.

As municipalities, we control the number of RCMP members. As specified in federal/provincial policing agreements, “the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, under the direction of the Federal Minister, has the control and management of the RCMP.”

These agreements mean that the federal government essentially tells us how much we will pay for our 54.4 RCMP members, and we budget accordingly.

As part of these agreements with the federal government, as RCMP members also do federal policing, municipalities get a 10% discount on RCMP contract policing.

Even with the 10% discount, RCMP contract policing and independent municipal policing costs are now more aligned than ever before.

Excluding policing costs, Langley City taxpayers would have seen a 0.56% reduction in property tax. Policing costs mean that Langely City Council proposes increasing property tax by 4.35% this year.

Policing costs in 2022 are proposed to be $15.1 million, representing 45% of all property tax collected.

The City is budgeting to collect $33.2 million in property tax, $14.1 million in fees, and $10.9 million from other sources, including the casino in 2022.

I will post more about the proposed 2022 Langley City financial plan and budget over the coming days.

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