The Surrey Police Board says the Surrey Police service has “underspent” nearly $7 million of its operational budget. The board reported on the fledgling police force’s year-to-date expenditures to May 31 at its last board meeting Wednesday, July 6.
The board’s executive director Melissa Granum noted the SPS gets funds from two sources: The one-time budget Surrey council approved to fund the transition from the RCMP to SPS, and an operational budget funded through the City of Surrey.
She noted in a press release the City of Surrey for 2022 allocated $72.5 million of its police services operational budget to the SPS – that’s 37 per cent of $194.8 million used to fund the SPS, Surrey RCMP and civilian police support services.
The Surrey Police Board, she added, only has oversight of its own operational budget – $74.8M including capital reserve.
“While the Board does not have oversight of the $63.7M one-time policing transition budget, it reports publicly on spending against that budget for public awareness,” Granum explained. “This public reporting includes a breakdown of where funds are being spent, including those spent on information technology capital expenditures.”
Granum said the year-to-date expenditure for IT infrastructure totalled $2.4 million, 21 per cent of the amount forecasted for 2022. The SPS’s net expenditures were $6.9 million in favour at the end of May, she noted, “and it is anticipated that there will be a favourable surplus by year end.”
Granum also noted that the SPS operational budget at the end of May includes the salaries and benefits of 252 SPS employees – 223 sworn members and 29 civilian employees – assigned to roles including community policing (frontline patrol), community engagement, operational skills training and administrative roles that include policy development and financial planning. “The remaining 26 employees are assigned to tasks specifically related to the policing transition including recruitment and security clearances; these salaries are assigned to the one-time policing transition budget.”
Wednesday’s board meeting was chaired by member Jessie Sunner. At the June 1 board meeting its chairman, Mayor Doug McCallum, announced he would “absent” himself from the meetings “for the next few months” leading up to the Oct. 15 civic election. The next board meeting is set for Sept. 21.
Meantime, Elizabeth Model, chairwoman of the board’s finance committee, noted in the press release that Surrey’s unprecedented transition “brings with it a highly complex budget” requiring participation from SPS, the RCMP and City of Surrey. “The Board monitors SPS’s use of the operational budget to ensure we are spending only what we are allotted in the overall budget,” Model said.
The Board’s public agendas are posted at www.surreypoliceboard.ca under “Past Meetings.”