A petition calling for the City of Kelowna’s surplus not to fund the city’s RCMP detachment is making the rounds online.
Kelowna resident Courtney Christensen organized the petition, writing that out of the city’s $8.1 million budget surplus, the city is planning on giving $2.5 million to fund the Kelowna RCMP.
“This is a problem for a number of reasons. First of all, we are in the middle of a pandemic,” she wrote.
“Citizens are struggling to pay bills, local businesses are struggling to stay open and they could use the money for that. We also have a huge homelessness and opioid overdose crisis that could use funding.”
Christensen also wrote that with 40 per cent of sexual assault claims being dismissed, it shows the RCMP “aren’t preventing crimes or solving them” and that the money is better suited for community programs instead.
The petition comes after the city identified it had an $8.1 million surplus from its 2019 budget, announcing it will allocate that money to several different reserves, including the $2.5 million to the RCMP.
The city’s corporate finance manager Sherry Little told council during the July 27 meeting that the funds would assist with the RCMP’s significant revenue losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as future unionization.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) has suggested municipal governments budget for the anticipated increase in costs for when Mounties unionize.
$7.6 million of the city’s 2019 budget surplus was allocated to the following accounts:
- RCMP: $2,500,000
- Community Safety: $400,000
- Slope Stability: $550,000
- Sidewalk Network $200,000
- Land Sales $700,000
- Major Systems: $400,000
- Public/Private/Partnership: $2,500,000
- Accumulated Surplus: $513,748
Currently, the petition has 1,090 signatures.