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Vancouver police chief ‘disappointed’ city budget includes freeze on police funding

VPD Chief Adam Palmer said he “disappointed with today’s budget vote.". Canadian Press

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.

Click to play video 'Trade offs needed to keep Vancouver property tax hike under 12%' Trade offs needed to keep Vancouver property tax hike under 12%
Trade offs needed to keep Vancouver property tax hike under 12% – Nov 1, 2020

“I am disappointed with today’s budget vote,” Chief Const. Adam Palmer said in a statement on Wednesday.

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“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.

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“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.”

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Vancouver facing tough budget decisions – Nov 4, 2020

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.

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Read more: ‘Trade offs’ required to keep Vancouver property tax hike under 12%: city report

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