Port Moody police seeks budget hike of nearly $500,000

Much of increase is due to rising costs of salaries and benefits.

The Port Moody Police Department is asking for nearly $500,000 more next year — a 4.33% bump over its 2020 budget.

In a report to be presented to city council on Tuesday, the police board that manages the department attributed much of the requested increase to rising wages and benefits. They account for an additional $308,000 over the $9,668,752 the force paid its members and civilians this year. 

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“Salaries and benefits have increased over the prior year largely due to non-discretionary items such as the anticipated cost of living increases, benefit increases and police member increments,” said the report.

Operating expenses are also going up $136,000, more than half of that for administrative costs like managing the cell block, exhibits and vehicle fleet, as well as training, recruitment and policy coordination. 

The report said the force is also facing rising IT costs that include new anti-virus software, cyber security training and licenses to allow staff to work remotely.

In 2019, the department had its computer systems waylaid for more than a week by a virus that shut down its email systems and its ability to conduct criminal record checks.

The report said the budget doesn’t include any added costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that could change if the public health crisis continues as the department will have to pay for enhanced cleaning, supplies of personal protection equipment, and possible increases in labour costs if personnel have to self-isolate. 

Revenues could also take a hit from fewer criminal record check requests.

But, added the report, some of those increases would be offset by decreased travel and conferences as well as costs related to having a presence at community events that would likely be cancelled.

The report estimates an extended public health emergency could hit the department’s bottom line for an additional $30,000.

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