City of Richmond 2019 budget funds major increases for police and fire staffing
12 February 2019
An additional 107 policing and fire staff are part of Richmond’s 2019 Operating Budget and 5 Year Financial Plan (2019-2023).
The overall tax increase for 2019 is 4.82%, with 61% of the increase attributable to the fire and police hiring. The impact of the tax increase will be about $94 for the average Richmond household.
The additional staff are part of Council’s Safe Community Program and is based on the recommendations from the Richmond RCMP and Richmond Fire-Rescue to ensure adequate staffing is in place to address continued growth of the city. The budget was approved at Council’s February 11 meeting.
Based on population, Richmond has fewer police officers than its peer group. Richmond currently has a police officer to population ratio of 1:970. According to the Municipal Police Statistics for 2015, Richmond has the lowest RCMP cost per capita compared to its peer group. RCMP has devised a 3 Year Resource Plan to take into account the current and future police resource challenges and demands.
The recent Richmond Fire-Rescue Plan Update identified that due to forecasted community growth over the next decade, a Rescue Company consisting of 12 firefighters will be required in the Steveston/Seafair area and an Engine Company consisting of 24 firefighters will be required in the City Centre/Brighouse area in order to maintain levels of service.
To address community safety staffing needs, the 2019 budget and 5 Year Financial Plan (2019-2023 provide for:
- ongoing operating costs of 51 additional RCMP officers and 20 municipal employees at the Richmond RCMP Detachment over the next three years
- ongoing operating costs of 36 additional firefighters to be hired over the next three years.
The proposed budget also includes nearly $3 million in additional spending required to cover costs passed on by senior levels of government, including the new provincial Employer Health Tax (EHT). This is equivalent to a 1.38% tax increase.
In addition to the proposed 2019 Operating Budget, Council approved the City’s 2019 Capital Budget, the Richmond Public Library’s 2019 Operating and Capital Budgets, the City’s recommended one time spending expenditures and gave preliminary approval to the Consolidated 5 Year Financial Plan (2019-2023) Bylaw No. 9979.
Public consultation on the Consolidated 5 Year Financial Plan (2019-2023), which includes all of the City’s 2019 budgets, will take place in the coming weeks, prior to the final consideration and adoption of the plan and 2019 budgets by Council.
The proposed budgets and 5 Year Financial Plan can be viewed at www.richmond.ca/5YFP.