B.C. Public Safety Minister frustrated with VicPD, city council budget dispute
VICTORIA - British Columbia's Public Safety Minister, Mike Farnworth, says he's frustrated that the province has once again been asked to wade into a budget dispute between Victoria city council and the Victoria police department.
Last year, Victoria and Esquimalt city councils voted against funding four new VicPD members for the 2019 budget. Because of that rejection, the police board has asked the provincial government to intervene and decide whether the councils should be forced to pay for the new officers.
Sean Powell is the finance chair for the police board. He calls the 2019 budget requests necessary, not optional.
"We believe, as a police department in the year 2019, that we require these things to ensure that our communities are safe."
Farnworth notes that despite rejecting last year's budget requests, Victoria council members are currently exploring with the public whether they should get a 50 percent pay raise.
“If less time was spent dealing with the 50 per cent pay increase and more time was spent dealing with some of these issues around policing, they wouldn’t have to be coming to my ministry to resolve these disputes all the time.”
This past February, Farnworth sided with the police board regarding the 2018 Police Budget, and ordered the two councils to pay for six new members.
Both Esquimalt's Mayor Barb Desjardin, and Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps, told CTV Tuesday that the ongoing budget debacles underscore the need to have a regional police department.