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City of Prince George looking at 6.55% tax increase

Increase or decrease to city's RCMP detachment up for consideration on Monday
City Hall

A 6.55 per cent tax levy increase will be on the table when city council begins budget deliberations for 2022 on Monday.

The city is looking at $8.58 million in additional costs in 2022, according to a city staff report going before council on Monday. Of that, roughly $1.1 million is expected to come from taxation on new developments, while the remaining $7.48 million will come from the existing tax base, city director of finance Kris Dalio wrote in his report.

The majority of the increase will be included in the general levy, with smaller amounts going to increases in the city’s infrastructure, snow removal and road rehabilitation levies.

One of the biggest cost increases facing the city in 2022 is a $2.4 million increase to its RCMP budget, resulting from labour negotiations between the federal government and the RCMP’s union.

The city’s RCMP detachment has a nominal strength of 142 members, but is budgeted for the equivalent of 128 members, Dalio wrote.

A report requested by city council estimated that cutting $1 million from the city’s RCMP budget would result in the reduction of five officers and impact service levels in the city, city director of public safety Adam Davey wrote in the report.

“The City of Prince George has seen consistently strong population growth over the last five years and that population growth trend shows no sign of slowing. Calls for service increased approximately 22 (per cent) over that five-year period,” Davey wrote. “If the Policing budget is reduced, reductions in service will have to come from complimentary policing programs, such as the Downtown Safety Unit and Car 60, as it will not be an option to reduce frontline policing positions due to the continued increasing pressures for response to calls for service.”

To meet the demands for policing in the city, administration has put forward a proposed budget enhancement to increase the city’s detachment by four officers.

“That population growth trend shows no sign of slowing,” the report says. “In order to maintain service levels in the face of increasing demands, additional resources are required.”

The report calls for the addition of two training officers and two investigative support team officers to the detachment by the last quarter of the year. The enhancement was expected to $201,365 to the RCMP budget this year, and $805,460 in 2023.

Members of the public will have a chance to provide input to city council during budget deliberations at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday, and again on Wednesday if a second meeting is needed to conclude budget deliberations.

The meetings start at 3:30 p.m., and members of the public may attend in person (with limited seating due to COVID-19 restrictions) or watch the livestream online at the city’s website. Residents can also pre-register online to provide input by phone during the public input sessions.

Written submissions can be submitted by email or addressed to the corporate officer and dropped off at the Service Centre on the first floor of City Hall before noon on Monday.

The full budget council agenda and reports are online at the city's website.