A wage increase for RCMP officers is expected to contribute to an estimated three-per-cent increase in police costs to the City of Merritt this year.

Sheila Thiessen, director of finance for the city, told the Herald that the city’s contract costs for RCMP in 2015 were $1.69 million.

The three-per-cent increase means the city can expect to pay about $1.74 million this year.

She said the city budgeted $1.89 million for RCMP contract costs last year.

The city budgets for the 15 municipal officers it has, and costs can vary if the detachment is operating shorthanded.

According to a recently-released report from the Auditor General for Local Government, the City of Merritt’s net contract costs for its RCMP were approximately $1.45 million in 2010-11, $1.50 million in 2011-12, $1.79 million in 2012-13 and $1.69 million in 2013-14.

The AGLG report shows that net contract costs vary year-to-year based on the regular-strength pay for the city’s members, the amount of overtime paid out, ac-commodation costs and a contribution from the federal government.

As a city with a population between 5,000 and 14,999, Merritt pays 70 per cent of its total policing costs.

RCMP staff Sgt. Sheila White said that Merritt officers haven’t received a raise in pay since 2014.