After two days of public budget meetings, 85 per cent of decisions have been made, and Williams Lake city council has authorized staff to prepare a provisional budget for presentation at its Dec. 18 council meeting.
“We’re still waiting for final year-end figures, surpluses, and the total assessments, so there are still variables out there that we don’t have yet, but we’re way ahead of the game. Staff have worked very hard to get this information far earlier in the process,” Mayor Kerry Cook said Friday, adding it will give council more time to go public with the budget.
One of the significant budget items that emerged centred on crime.
“There have been a lot of requests for dollars and manpower from the RCMP. With the recent attention to crime, we authorized staff to co-ordinate working with the RCMP to co-ordinate some community meetings about awareness and education and going out to the community to see if they are prepared to pay more money to have an enhanced policing service,” Cook said.
Cook said the Williams Lake RCMP has exhausted everything possible within their current resources to improve efficiencies and restructure.
“Either this community will accept the status quo of where we’re at or we’re going to have to bite the bullet put some more money into further crime reduction.”
The meetings with the public will begin in early January.
“I think we’ll get far more response and buy in from the community because what the RCMP want is a target team of four or five people and that will cost an additional $400,000 to $500,000. It’s huge,” Cook said.
There will be a report coming out at the regular meeting Tuesday from an in-camera meeting council had with Inspector Warren Brown on Nov. 27.
“It will have a number of initiatives that we put forward all to do with policing. I don’t believe in just throwing money at a problem, but we’re putting forth a number of recommendations to add into what’s already being done.”