Victoria Council to take another look at VicPd budget Thursday

Victoria Council will be taking another look at consider the police budget on Thursday.

Last month councillors voted to hold VicPd to an increase of inflation-plus-1% -- something Chief Constable Del Manak said would leave them $1.67 Million short, requiring staff cuts. 

Since then, the Province has said 6 more officers need to be hired.

Mayor and police board co-chair Lisa Helps supports giving the department what it needs to maintain safety.

But a number of councillors wanted to see a cost breakdown: one including the Employer Health Tax, and one without it.  Helps says the EHT is an administrative cost for the city -- and is not considered part of any other department's core budget.

" So the conversation we need to have on Thursday is, will my colleagues on council see the police in the same way as they see other departments in terms of the employer health tax? All that means is that the police won't have to cut so much. "

The mayor says she gets tired of hearing people say we have the highest number of police officers per capita:

" Well that's true if you look at a Tuesday night when everyone's asleep in their bed. But it's not true if it's Friday night. It's not true if it's the middle of Wednesday afternoon when half the region is here.  And I want half the region coming to work downtown. That's what makes it awesome. We need to, as a capital city, provide the right number of services."

Helps says as the economic and cultural hub of the region, resources are required to keep the city safe, and there also needs to be a conversation about regionalized policing.

" I know I've had a conversation with the chief, that's a conversation he's willing to have. We're going to talk with Saanich. Esquimalt and Victoria are already in a sense amalgamated. That's a conversation that we really need to have if we're going to get to true community safety."




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