Richmond adds more police officers in 2017 budget13 December 2016
Richmond City Council approved its 2017 Operating Budget on Monday, which includes funding for 11 additional police officers and three additional civilian staff for Richmond RCMP. The operating budget adopted Monday provides for a 1.95% tax increase to fund City services, plus an additional 1% tax increase to go towards the City’s reserves to pay for future infrastructure needs.
Use of funding from the City’s Rate Stabilization Account will largely offset the cost of the additional policing staff in the 2017 budget. The increase in policing staff follows on the hiring of an additional 12 RCMP officers in 2016. About 21 cents of each Richmond municipal tax dollar will go towards policing in 2017.
The modest tax increase ensures Richmond property taxes will remain among the lowest in Metro Vancouver. As of 2016, Richmond had the 5th lowest property taxes out of 21 municipalities in Metro Vancouver and was second lowest among the largest five municipalities in the region, based on an average residential property.
City Council also approved the 2017 budget for the Richmond Public Library. The library’s budget restores branch operating hours to 2015 levels. Operating hours at some branches had been reduced in 2016 to offset additional spending on the library’s collection.
Council also approved the 2017 Capital Budget, which includes spending of $102.9 million on various infrastructure improvements, parks and land acquisition programs. Highlights include $1.2 million for phase 2 funding for the Garden City Lands park development, $5 million in funding for new park development and parkland acquisition and $3 million for dike upgrades.