2.36% increase for police ‘right on’

Police board says increase to Oak Bay police budget is reasonable

The cost of policing in Oak Bay will go up 2.36 per cent next year.

Chief Constable Mark Fisher presented his budget to the police board at a meeting last week.

“It’s right on,” said outgoing Mayor Christopher Causton, head of the police board. “It’s right about where we wanted to be coming in, around two per cent. Maybe the new police board will take it down to two per cent.”

There were several items that added to the department’s increased budget, including a new collective agreement which resulted in a salary increase of 1.25 per cent, which takes effect in April 2012.

Fisher recommended that the student Block Watch co-ordinator position be eliminated and that salary be used to fund a portion of a new part-time clerical position that would administer the Block Watch program along with records management and exhibit handling. The change adds $11,443.25 to the budget.

Integrated units also impact the Oak Bay police budget, including an increase of $5,536 for the Regional Domestic Violence Unit. The Municipal Undercover Program is a new unit, based in Abbotsford, which has seen an increase in staffing this year. As a result, all municipal police departments are being assessed a fee based on the number of serving members they have. The Oak Bay fee for 2012 will be $4,280. In his report, Fisher told the board that Oak Bay has used the services of the Municipal Undercover Program in the past.

The budget also includes $4,500 to fund the police portion of roof repair to the garage it shares with the Oak Bay Fire Department.

The total police operating budget for 2012 is projected to be $4,350,071, a 2.36 per cent increase over 2011. The capital budget is $97,500, a 27 per cent decrease over 2011.

“What it boils down to is our big capital costs are vehicle replacements. We don’t have a lot of big ticket items, it’s a small operation,” said Causton. Although the decrease seems huge, it is due to the department having to install a closed-circuit television system last year. “But you could use that in the headline: ‘mayor leaves with 27 per cent decrease in budget,’” Causton said with a laugh.



Overtime under control

In 2010 the Oak Bay police budget called for about $72,000 worth of expected overtime for the year. By the end of the year overtime expenditures climbed to more than $106,000. The overrun was largely due to sickness and injuries.

The mayor said overtime is not a concern this year due to “much better management.” To the end of October 2011, overtime was at $73,058.