A provincial government move to change the current deal that gives B.C. municipalities traffic fine money has raised concern at Langley City hall.
A report to City council by Director of Corporate Services Darrin Leite said last year, the traffic fine revenue amounted to $472,123 in 2017, enough to fund the salary of three RCMP officers.
Langley Township gets more than double what the City does from the same sharing arrangement and also directs the funds toward policing costs.
Since 2004, municipalities have been receiving the traffic fine revenue in the form of unconditional grants, returning 100 per cent of the net provincial traffic fine revenues.
But that is likely to change.
Currently, the province collects the fines and redistributes between $50-60 million to municipalities of more than 5,000 people.
Last month, Attorney General David Eby advised Wendy Booth, president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities that the government wanted to make some changes, aimed at earmarking the traffic fine revenue for safety programs.
“The province wants to better leverage traffic fine revenue for initiatives that improve road safety and driver behaviour at high risk locations — leading to reduced collisions — which will be critical in both decreasing claims costs for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia,” the Eby letter said.
The provincial government has also indicated that it wants to expand traffic fine revenue by installing cameras at intersections that not only ticket drivers who go through on a red light but also clock the speed.
The province said it wanted to finish consultations about revenue sharing changes by the end of July.
Leite’s report suggests the result could be less money for policing in Langley City.
“The Province has indicated that it would like to withhold some of the revenues realized by adding the speeding component, to be used to fund ICBC road safety programs,” Leite wrote.
“The concern is that municipalities who rely on the traffic fine revenue will receive less revenue once the Province amends the program retaining some of the traffic fine revenues generated in the Province.”
The report notes that 45 per cent of the property tax revenues collected in the City of Langley go to pay for the “escalating policing service costs in the community, creating a significant burden for the local taxpayer.
At council’s Monday night meeting, deputy mayor Rudy Storteboom and members of council unanimously voted to register an objection by telling the provincial government that it ought to continue to provide 100 per cent of the traffic fine revenues to municipalities “including fines generated by the proposed speed enforcement cameras located at high risk intersections.”
Council also unanimously endorsed a resolution by councillor Gayle Martin to forward the City decision to other Lower Mainland municipalities.
“I think 22 letters goes further than one,” Martin told The Times.
“This is just one of many things they’re (the provincial government) downloading to municipal governments.”
The UBCM estimates 75 member municipalities spend over $1 billion on policing every year and received just over $58 million from the traffic fine sharing program.