RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – It’s still a long way from a final decision but it looks like tax-payers in Richmond could be looking at a more than a five per cent increase to taxes this year.
Mayor Malcolm Brodie says that’s mainly because council wants to make community safety a priority, looking at bringing in 51 new police officers, 36 firefighters, and 20 support staff over the next three years.
“When we did the RCMP study a couple of years ago, it showed that we have the lowest police-to-population ratio in the region,” Brodie adds. “We have one officer for about 970 or so people in our city.
He says Richmond is a growing city, and they need to keep up with its growth.
“There’s been no substantial hiring for probably 20 years in terms of our firefighters, so that’s why we decided we had to be bold as far as that goes,” Brodie adds.
Brodie says he would like for the tax increase to be lower, but notes there’s a need to have more first responders on the streets.
“But when you figure that we have a very significant increment to our community safety personnel, plus we have the employers health tax, that puts a real dent in our budget right from the very start.”
He says it will be a few more weeks before council finalizes the budget, and is hoping to get the tax increase down before then.