Police costs going up as Armstrong's population cracks 5,000 people - InfoNews

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Police costs going up as Armstrong's population cracks 5,000 people

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February 14, 2017 - 4:30 PM

ARMSTRONG - Armstrong residents will be paying more for police service — the only question is how much.

The latest figures from Statistics Canada show the population in the City of Armstrong crept over the 5,000 mark in 2016, to 5,114 up from 4,830 in 2011.

That means the city is automatically on the hook for a larger percentage of policing costs.

“In the dollar world, we don’t know what it is yet. We don’t know the financial impact, but it will be pretty substantial,” Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper says.

Once communities grow beyond 5,000 people they are responsible for paying 70 per cent of policing costs. The federal government pays the other 30 per cent. Municipalities over 15,000 pay 90 per cent of the bill.

The provincial government collects about half of its 70 per cent share from rural areas and towns under 5,000.

The Town of Osoyoos is in the same situation, having just cracked 5,000 people as well. The mayor of that community reports they were previously responsible for 30 per cent of the costs.

The City of Armstrong has started negotiations with the RCMP and will come up with a contract in the coming weeks, Pieper says.

Policing costs already make up roughly $240,000 of the city’s budget and Pieper says there will be an added cost to the taxpayer.

“There’s no doubt there will be a jump,” he says.

The mayor says the city has enjoyed a great relationship with the RCMP and has no complaints over service.

“There’s no issues there whatsoever,” Pieper says.

Despite the added costs, Pieper says the climbing population brings good news too.

“The city is growing a little bit. With that, it provides assurances for businesses that our community is a stable community,” Pieper says.

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