Police keep budget tight

Mayor expresses confidence in department’s professionalism

Oak Bay municipal council passed the 2013 police department budget this week.

Mayor Nils Jensen said it’s a testimony to the confidence that council has in the administration of the department.

“Under the leadership of Mark Fisher there have been a lot of positive changes in the police service in Oak Bay. They’re in the midst of a strategic plan that engages the public in that planning process, and Chief Fisher has still done a great job at bringing in a budget that has only minor increases,” he said.

The $4 million budget incorporated a less than one per cent increase as compared to the 2012 budget and covered everything from the replacement of vehicles – two are budgeted for 2013, including a Ford SUV Interceptor and a lower emission squad car – to increased costs for Crimestoppers, building renovations and access to the Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME) database.

Deputy Chief Kent Thom said it can be a challenge to manage a budget in which unanticipated costs can come out of nowhere.

“Information technology costs are a big factor now and they change so rapidly that it can be a challenge to stay up to speed and within budget,” he said.

Last year the police managed to come in at less than one per cent under budget, a testimony to good planning and stewardship on behalf of the taxpayers, Jensen said.