Comox will consider costs to increase the number of police officers funded by the town.
In a request to council, the Comox Valley RCMP asked the municipality to increase the maximum number of RCMP officers by two. Comox currently has 11.3 officers as the maximum amount the town can fund, a level maintained since 2008.
In a report to council at the March 1 council meeting, Jordan Wall, the town’s chief administrative officer, noted a letter from the detachment indicated there has been a 5.5 per cent population increase in the past five years and nearly a 30 per cent increase in population within the town in the past 20 years.
Projected census statistics show a population base of more than 15,000, which will trigger a new funding formula for policing services within the municipality.
According to Wall’s report, Comox’s per capita police funding of $117 is one of the lowest in the province; Comox also has one of the lowest crime rates in B.C.
While Comox is contracted to pay up to 11.3 RCMP officers, it has not usually been the case that the town has funded this amount. The town only pays for the actual number of officers attributed to the municipality – in 2022, that number was 10.4.
Wall explained the reason for the town not meeting the 11.3 contracted amount is due to officers that are away for medical or personal reasons who are still attached to the department but are not charged to the municipality.
Each RCMP officer is billed to the town at 70 per cent of the $203,000 cost ($142,000). The amount will increase to 90 per cent of the cost ($182,000) after the next census.
Council will consider a funding strategy for how best to account for the increase in funding which is set to take place in 2026, which will add approximately $500,000 in costs to the municipality or $66 per home per year.
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