More police for Vernon

More police for Vernon

On Wednesday, city council approved the 2018 RCMP budget, which includes six additional officers

UPDATED

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There will be more police officers on the beat in Vernon.

On Wednesday, city council approved the 2018 RCMP budget, which includes six additional officers.

“This is the right move for our community,” said Mayor Akbal Mund.

“As the population increases, so may criminal activity. Crime will always exist, but with more resources the RCMP have more boots on the ground to combat crime.”

The city currently funds 50 officers and the increase is being sought because of workload.

The overall increase to the RCMP budget is about $1.4million.

Council met Wednesday and Thursday to prepare the city’s 2018 budget.

Administration recommended a 6.38 per cent tax increase, but council approved a 5.05 per cent hike which includes the staff recommended 1.9 per cent increase for infrastructure and 2.91 per cent for the six officers.

“Council has approved the fire services budget as presented, including the purchase in 2018 of a new engine and an annual contribution to fire equipment reserve of $90,000,” said Will Pearce, chief administrative officer.

A public input session was held Thursday morning that drew three attendees.

Mund said former Vernon councillor Barry Beardsell asked council to go back to a KPMG study and cut more staff, slow down capital projects and reduce tax exemptions.

Dawn Tucker asked for a tax on AirBNB properties.

Jasmine Findley praised the budget process and the “accessibility to everything.” All three, said Mund, were pleased with the added RCMP officers.