Change to 911 dispatch funding could cost South Island municipalities

Change to 911 dispatch funding could cost South Island municipalities
E-Comm 911
File photo.

Eight southern Vancouver Island municipalities are asking the province to hold off on requiring them to pay for 911 dispatch costs.

A joint letter sent by the mayors of the eight municipalities to Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, states in previous years the costs for 911 dispatch in B.C. have been paid for by the federal and provincial governments.

A recent change means that the South Island municipalities would be responsible for paying for the service, which would be a collective $3.59 million per year. This change would be phased in over three years.

Colwood, Ladysmith, Langford, North Cowichan, North Saanich, Sidney, Sooke and View Royal are the eight municipalities being affected.

The letter states that requiring the municipalities to pay these costs would result in an average tax increase of just under 2.5 per cent by the time the full changes are implemented.

The municipalities say this is an urgent issue to discuss with Farnworth, as they are currently discussing the budget for 2022, which would be the first year in which the costs start to be passed off to the municipalities.

The eight municipalities have reached out to the province asking if any other municipalities outside the South Island are having the costs of 911 dispatch downloaded to them, but the province has so far not responded to the inquiries.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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