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New West police department under budget – but that’s expected to change

What's happening at the New West police board? Budget update and new member joins the police board
New Westminster Police Department
The New Westminster police board provides oversite of the NWPD.

The New Westminster Police Department is currently under budget for 2022 – but that’s expected to change by the end of the year.

Jacqueline Dairon, finance supervisor for the NWPD, provided the police board with an update on the department’s financial position for the first quarter of 2022. A report to the board shows the police department was under budget by $780,000 as of March 31.

“At the end of March we are trending under budget, as of right now. The main thing I want to get across is that is just for March 31. There are a lot of timing things to work out this year,” she said. “I am forecasting that we will be slightly over budget. We are in the process of costing some of the collective agreements and different things that are coming out through this year. But I am forecasting us to be about $150,000 over budget. It is obviously very early in the year.”

A May 17 report to the New Westminster police board stated that salaries and benefits are currently under budget by 5.46% or $366,000.

“The current savings are forecasted to be absorbed as positions are filled and the collective agreement is finalized,” said the report. “We are forecasting these accounts to be over budget by $695,000 by year-end. The majority of the overage will be recovered via secondments, as additional positions were seconded after the budget was finalized.”

According to the report, staff is in the process of costing proposed collective agreement changes and has incorporated current estimates into the budget forecast.

 The report states contract services are under budget by $80,000, with savings mainly due to the timing of invoices received. It’s expected that contract services will be on budget or slightly over budget by year-end.

Education and training are currently under budget by $48,000, but are forecast to be over budget by $16,000 by the end of the year. “The high-risk account within these accounts is recruitment; with current staffing challenges we could see high fluctuations in this account.”

The report notes that general office and administration costs are currently under budget by $100,000 and are forecast to be on budget for 2022 – although legal expenses could create a challenge if prior year trends continue.

“We are seeing a lot of pressures in equipment and other costs,” Dairon said. “So that category is already over budget year-to-date.”

According to the March 31 financial report, equipment and other costs are over budget by $111,000 and this account is projected to be $75,000 over budget.

The majority of the overages will be in clothing issue, equipment and firearms as we are facing pricing pressures within these accounts,” said the report.

New board member

The newest member of the New Westminster police board brings 15 years of experience in public health to the table.

Drew Hart has been named as the newest member of the police board. He attended his first meeting on May 17.

“We are really excited to have you join the team and the group,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote, chair of the police board. “I know you have an excellent background, in particular to health and mental health that will really help our discussions at the police board. On behalf of the board, I want to welcome you to the New West police board.”

A biography included in the May 17 police board agenda states that Hart is currently serving as the director of facilities management and capital projects for BC Mental Health and Substance Use Service. He’s held a number of program management and project management roles in the areas of metal health and substance use, as well as public health.

“He particularly enjoys working to help improve services for some of the most marginalized individuals in our society,” said the biography.

Other members of the police board are: Heather Boersma; Ruby Campbell; Karim Hachlaf; Shirley Heafey; and Sasha Ramnarine.