Langley City will spend almost twice as much as expected on vandalism this year because the costs of cleaning up litter and repairing damage caused by the homeless has gone up.
The total amount spent on vandalism in 2016 is now projected to reach $192,600, which is about $89,500 more than budgeted.
A staff report to Monday’s council meeting said the City has “incurred significant labour and cleanup costs to address homelessness related issues in the community.”
“The primary costs were related to cleanup of homeless camps or litter (and) debris pickup that can be attributed to the homeless activities as well as pickup and disposal of shopping carts” the report said.
Within the vandalism budget, the City had allotted $7,245 for the cleanup of homeless camps this year, but the actual amount is now expected to reach $70,000.
While the report doesn’t detail the reasons for the tenfold hike, it appears much of it may be related to the removal of a tent city near 208 Street and Fraser Highway this fall.
The report estimates about 25 per cent of the money spent on other categories of vandalism, such as repairing and cleaning “deliberately damaged City infrastructure and street furniture,” and wire theft, “are related to homelessness issues.”
Council approved using money from the City enterprise fund to cover the added costs.
The fund is money put aside to be used at council’s discretion to address issues that arise after a budget has been adopted.
At the Monday meeting, Mayor Ted Schaffer said new City regulations to address the use of shopping carts by the homeless are in the works.
The mayor hinted the regulations may involve a deposit or finders fee aimed at the businesses the shopping carts come from.
“I think some of these companies should take responsibility for picking them (shopping carts) up,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer said the new regulations could be ready before the end of the year.