Vancouver’s top cop said he is “disappointed” that the city’s newly approved 2021 budget does not include more funding for police.
Vancouver police had proposed a $346.6-million budget but council approved an amendment from Coun. Christine Boyle to freeze it at $340.9 million.
“I am disappointed with today’s budget vote,” Chief Const. Adam Palmer said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I am concerned this decision will directly impact public safety in Vancouver and the wellness of our officers.”
Palmer said losing $5.7 million means 61 fewer VPD recruits next year.
“Some elected officials have tried to position this as a status quo budget by holding the VPD at 2020 funding levels. This is simply not true. Maintaining 2020 budget levels leaves the VPD with a $5.7-million shortfall to meet fixed cost obligations.”
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said next year’s $1.6-billion operating budget will see a property tax increase held at five per cent despite nearly $139 million in pandemic losses.
Stewart maintains there will be more money for street cleaning, community policing, battling the overdose crisis, and helping small businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last month, a staff report said the city was staring down the barrel of a pandemic-driven deficit and will have to make budget trade-offs to avoid a 12 per cent property tax increase.
— With files from Simon Little