Mission’s RCMP costs higher than expected

Integrated team cost-splitting formula differing from initial estimates

Unexpected increased RCMP costs drew sharp criticism from mayor and council Monday evening.

The district had expected the funding formula for integrated teams to be reduced to a municipal share of 70 per cent from the current 90 per cent based on negotiations for a new RCMP contract.

However, since the funding formula for the teams is between municipalities and the province —  not the federal government and province — these expectations were revised.

New information suggests only the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team would have the 70 per cent funding formula applied, while the five other teams Mission RCMP share with regional partners would continue to cost the district 90 per cent.

The $220,000 savings estimate has now been revised to $102,000 for the fiscal year, a half per cent increase on municipal taxes.

One of the incentives in the contract was the 70-30 split, said Coun. Jenny Stevens, adding she  resents the sudden change.

To maintain existing service levels, the 2013-14 budget forecast has been ratcheted up by $340,000. If an additional $118,000 from the revised funding formula is required, as well as $150,000 in potential cost overruns based on staff vacancies, the RCMP budget would grow by $608,000, a 2.3 per cent impact on municipal taxes.

The RCMP budget estimate for 2013-14 is $8.3 million, assuming an integrated teams ratio of 90-10. The five-year forecast calls for an annual growth of $347,000.

Mayor Ted Adlem was also annoyed the contract is asking Mission to pay $1,200 per full-time equivalent for the $1.2 billion RCMP E-Division headquarters being built in Surrey.

“That wasn’t part of the negotiations for the current contract,” he said, adding Mission taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for a building in Surrey.

Council voted to send approval in principle of the 2012-13 RCMP budget estimates to the justice ministry, with questions about integrated teams, the headquarters charges, and the above-expected cost of purchasing long guns.