Comox Valley Crime Stoppers asking for financial aid

In its 25 years of existence, Comox Valley Crime Stoppers has received thousands of tips, ranging from "murder to mischief."

In its 25 years of existence, Comox Valley Crime Stoppers has received thousands of tips, ranging from “murder to mischief,” the non-profit’s president Stuart Hartman said Tuesday at regional district committee of the whole.

Many tips have helped bring criminals to justice. Some have helped to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen property, and to seize upwards of $18 million worth of narcotics, the organization says.

But its work is “likely to never be done,” Hartman said.

The committee approved a motion from Courtenay director Bill Anglin to consider funding the local Crime Stoppers program with funds from the Victim Services program. To do so would require a $12,000 annual increase, which would be 29 cents a year for homeowners with property assessed at $300,000.

“I think we’re on the right path with this,” Courtenay director Jon Ambler said.

The bylaw will come back for adoption in the spring.

Crime Stoppers received a $17,000 gaming grant in 2010, but was deemed ineligible for further funds because the organization maintained a financial surplus. An ongoing contribution of $12,000 would suffice to meet its needs.

The CVRD provides $70,000 a year to the Comox Valley Transition Society to deliver the police-based Victim Services program.

Crime Stoppers has also presented to Courtenay and Comox councils, and met with Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird.

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An ongoing discussion about the Valley’s transit service was deferred to March.

A proposed tax rate for the service this year is about $36 per year for a $300,000 home.

The CVRD maintains public transit is a vital service forming the primary mode of transportation for many people. But Courtenay director Starr Winchester, noting empty buses, questions the wisdom of continuing to introduce programs that don’t work.

“Why not have smaller buses?” she said, noting the district is in the midst of developing a Master Transit Plan that will be adopted in summer. “We have to look at ways to save money.”

Comox director Tom Grant concurs it is unfair to continually ask taxpayers to subsidize a system not being used.

Transit operating expenses for 2014 are expected to exceed $2.4 million, about .5 per cent less than 2013 budget levels. Reserves are estimated at $922,000 as of the end of 2013.