Township braces for higher policing costs

Extra residents will likely mean a bump in paying for policing services in the Township of Spallumcheen.

Mayor Will Hansma says preliminary census numbers indicate the township’s population to be more than 5,000 people, meaning the community would be required to pay 70 per cent of policing costs.

“The numbers put us over that threshold where, all of a sudden, we will have the RCMP working directly with us,” said Hansma.

“We can determine how many police officers we want, the level of staff involvement, all of those different things are within our reach and control if the resources are available through the RCMP.”

Currently, the township and City of Armstrong fall under the roof of the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment with officers dedicated to cover the communities.

A police detachment is located in Armstrong, whose population will likely remain under 5,000.

For the township, the move to municipal policing will mean a slight impact for taxpayers, but Hansma said it won’t be a severe impact as the township has been preparing for this for the past few years.

“We don’t need to set any money aside as we have a reserve fund,” said Hansma.

“We knew we’d be over again. We never stopped collecting in anticipation of that. We made sure we had that reserve established so it would balance out over a number of years.”

Official census numbers are expected to be released by the end of 2011 or in early 2012, and negotiations between the township and the province in regards to policing will continue.



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