Not only did the three gang-related shootings in Port Moody this year shake the city's reputation as being safe and quiet, the murders will leave a big tab behind for taxpayers.
Mayor Mike Clay suggested the cost of three murder investigations could top $1 million, noting the overtime alone for the Port Moody Police Department was $100,000.
There is, however a silver lining, at least for taxpayers in the City of the Arts.
Much of the tab will be picked up by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD).
Last year, Port Moody police signed on to an integrated homicide team with the VPD.
Under the agreement, the city pays $150,000 annually and assigns an officer to the team. It has turned out to be a pretty good bargain for Port Moody.
"That's how integrated teams work," Clay told The NOW.
"We [Port Moody] could go 10 years without a murder, and then it would be us giving back to them."
Indeed, it had been nearly a decade since that last homicide in Port Moody, until the recent gang warfare gripping the Lower Mainland broke through city limits.
On the evening of May 30, noted gangster Gurbinder Toor was gunned down in the parking lot of the Port Moody Recreation Complex as he got out of his car on the way to a ball hockey game.
Less than a month later, gangster and Independent Soldiers founder Randy Naicker was gunned down on busy Queens Street during rush hour.
The third shooting happened on Sept. 8 when Port Moody resident Joseph Markel was shot and killed at his home in Glenayre.
Police said the 32-year-old was "well known" to them and was believed to be an associate of the Dhak-Duhre gang.
But Clay said the costs of the investigations are a sign of the challenging times facing police in the province.
He argued the technology and training required by the force and the demands on the court system when investigations go to trial are driving up police costs.
The mayor noted nine officers from the local department are being lent out to various integrated teams.
"We're having to carry more people, that we don't even see," Clay said, adding the integrated teams provide a "tremendous" value to the city.
But that cost isn't likely to go down anytime in the near future.
The Port Moody Police Department is looking at an 11-per-cent increase to its budget for 2013, based on preliminary estimates.
That works out to $438,246 more than in 2012, pushing the entire police budget to $9.3 million.
Clay called the increase "massive," considering the police budget makes up one-third of the city's overall budget.
However, he suggested the budget is a starting point, adding some of the projects in the capital budget could be held back.
Clay also said the number would likely be whittled down during budget deliberations this fall.
© Copyright 2013