Terrace city council is being asked to add $150,000 from next year’s planned tax hike to help pay for increased RCMP salaries. (Black Press Media file photo)

Terrace city council is being asked to add $150,000 from next year’s planned tax hike to help pay for increased RCMP salaries. (Black Press Media file photo)

Terrace council planning for RCMP wage increases

City taxpayers pay 70 per cent of RCMP costs

Terrace city council is being asked to add $150,000 from next year’s planned tax hike to help pay for increased RCMP salaries.

The $150,000 will be added to the $500,000 the city has already tucked away since 2017 in anticipation of a first-ever collective agreement between the federal government and the union representing RCMP officers below the rank of inspector.

That agreement was reached this summer, setting in motion retroactive pay dating back to 2017, the last year RCMP officers would have received a raise.

The city is now waiting to find out exactly how much it will need to pay.

“We have recommended council increase the RCMP budget by $150,000 for 2022. This is an estimation only with a tax increase implication of 0.96 per cent,” city finance director Lori Greenlaw said of budget projections presented to council.

“If this is insufficient, the surplus will be used to fund any shortfall in 2022 and the shortfall will need to be taxed for in 2023.”

Dating back to 2017 and with a last pay raise to come as of April 1, 2022, the agreement means average pay increases of nearly 24 per cent over that period of time.

B.C. municipalities served by the RCMP pay a rate based on population and for Terrace that means city taxpayers pay 70 per cent of RCMP costs, an amount that includes pay and benefits and non-wage related items.

As of April 1, 2016 a beginning RCMP constable would have been earning $53,144 a year, a figure that will now rise to $65,776 as of April 1, 2022 while a senior constable’s April 1, 2016 salary of $86,110 will increase to $106,576 over the same period.

Information distributed by the Union of B.C. Municipalities indicates that municipal police forces generally offer starting salaries of more than $70,000 a year, a figure that is still higher than what a new RCMP officer will earn as of next April.

Top pay for a sergeant will be $127,204 as of April 1, 2022 while that of a staff sergeant will be $136,657.

Collective bargaining between officers and the federal government became possible in 2015 when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a law banning officers from unionizing.