Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Langley RCMP asks for a $1.3 million budget increase next year after a $1.5 million increase this year

Langley City CPO

This year, many Langley City residents received their property tax bills and were surprised to see the extent of their property tax increase. Overall, Langley City’s portion of property tax increased by 4.35%. 4% of that property tax increase was for policing services which we contract to the RCMP.

You can read more in a previous post. The main driver of the $1.5 million increase in policing service costs was salary increases for RCMP members as part of their new collective agreement with the federal government.

On Monday, Langley City Council learned for the first time that the Officer in Charge of the Langley Detachment of the RCMP wants six additional RCMP members for Langley City and six additional members for the Township of Langley. We received a report asking that we pre-approve a $1.3 million increase to the policing service budget for 2023.

If approved, the policing budget in Langley City will have increased by $2.8 million in two years.

To put this number in perceptive. The police operating budget this year is $15 million. The Fire Rescue Service operating budget this year is $5.2 million. Our parks department operating budget this year is $2.4 million. Langley City’s Bylaw Enforcement Department’s operating budget this year is $0.7 million.

$1.3 million could fund:

  • Making our second firetruck 24/7
  • Almost tripling the size of the bylaw enforcement department
  • The annual operation costs of a performing art centre AND indoor pool
  • Ensuring that our park washrooms are the cleanest and best maintained in Canada

While we may need six more RCMP members to police Langley City, the cost is significant and shouldn’t be breezed over in a pre-approval budget request. Only Vancouver, Delta, and West Vancouver spend more per capita on protective services than Langley City.

These reasons are why I proposed deferring granting pre-approval to the RCMP’s proposed 2023 budget until we’ve had a chance to talk to Superintendent Adrian Marsden. While this is only a pre-approval, the reality is that Council has minimal control over the policing budget for our community. The pre-approved budget will become the approved budget due to the structure of the contract policing agreement between Langley City, the Township of Langley, the province, and the federal government.

The majority of Council agreed to defer pre-approval until we have spoken to Superintendent Adrian Marsden, who is in charge of the Langley RCMP Detachment. Mayor van den Broek, Councillor Martin, and Councillor Storteboom opposed my deferral request.

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