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New Surrey RCMP office building could impact local taxes
West Kelowna council learned Tuesday it, along with other municipalities throughout the province, will likely be paying thousands of additional dollars for costs associated with the nearly billion-dollar, 819,807-square-foot "Green Timbers" RCMP E Division headquarters that opened earlier this year in Surrey.
Brad Lanthier, manager of contract policing with E Division's Finance - Corporate Management Branch, gave council a customized 2012/13 review and spoke about potential upcoming costs.
Admitting the contingent cost of $1,200 per member was "by far the least popular part" of his presentation, Lanthier explained the price tag is an accommodation charge for administrative members occupying space at Green Timbers.
According to a news release issued by the Union of B.C. Municipalities earlier this year, the province is in the process of negotiating the cost of Green Timbers with the federal government. In the 2013/14 RCMP Financial Plan projections, there is an estimated budget allowance of $1,200 per regular member that has been built in; however, that number could change depending on negotiations.
With 23 regular members in West Kelowna's force, that estimate would mean the district would be charged $27,600.
According to Tom Wilson, communications supervisor for the City of Kelowna, Kelowna currently has 177 RCMP regular member positions. At $1,200 per member, the cost associated with Green Timbers could be approximately $212,400 for the city.
The UBCM release also noted, except for the location, the province was not consulted in the decision to build Green Timbers.
"Our taxpayers need to understand $1,200 per member for an office building in Surrey is what our expected annual costs (could) be. Maybe it will be less, maybe it will be more," said West Kelowna Coun. Duane Ophus.
Lanthier noted there is a good chance the actual cost will be lower.
"I really have to stress that the $1,200 is a contingent amount. I'm not privy to the discussions, so I don't want to say whether it will be less, but I would say that $1,200 is on the high side of an estimate," said Lanthier.
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater thanked Lanthier for the presentation and said, overall, the community is satisfied with the efforts of local Mounties.
"This community is very happy with the RCMP service we get," said Findlater.