The City of Merritt isn’t happy with having to absorb new costs for DNA analysis services.

At a police committee meeting in March, Merritt Mayor Neil Menard said that the city needs to let the province know it isn’t happy with these costs, noting that it will be a topic of discussion at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria this September.

Last year, the city paid $1,400 for 25 per cent of its detachment’s DNA analysis costs — which are being phased in over the next three years.

This year, the city is budgeting about $13,000 for these costs and $15,600 for next year, director of finance Sheila Thiessen told the Herald.

“It’s kind of ironic — and you can understand where [city] council’s frustrated — because on one hand we have the municipal auditor-general saying you have to pay closer attention to your policing costs and then on the other hand the province turns around and downloads costs,” Thiessen said.

Local governments have just recently started footing the bill for DNA analysis services.

Historically, the federal government funded the cost of DNA analysis services, with provinces and territories chipping in a fixed amount of about $3.8 million. B.C.’s share was about $1.3 million.

A new agreement between the provinces and Ottawa was reached last June, which has the provinces and territories paying 54 per cent of the costs and the federal government paying 46 per cent. The amount paid by each province or territory is based on their proportionate share of DNA analysis requests from their respective jurisdictions.

The share of the costs municipalities are paying has been increasing.

For 2014-15, B.C. agreed to pay the full $2.5 million cost apportioned to it and municipalities — up from the $1.3 million flat rate it had been paying previously.

Last year, the province agreed to pay a base contribution of $1.3 million and 75 per cent of the remaining cost of $2.3 million, leaving $567,000 to be split amongst local governments.

This year, the province will continue to pay a $1.36 million base contribution and the remaining costs will be split between the province and local governments based on usage.

Starting in 2017-18 the cost will be based on the two-year average actual cost of the lab and two-year average usage.

In B.C., all police agencies, including municipal police departments, use the services of the RCMP DNA lab, with some support of accredited private laboratories.