The Abbotsford Police Department is transferring $250,000 from its operating reserve back to the City of Abbotsford.
The APD posted a $560,000 surplus in 2011 and the funds were transferred into the department's operating reserve, said APD Deputy Chief Len Goerke.
Chief Bob Rich said the APD made the recommendation for the cash transfer to the board because it felt the operating reserve was in "healthy condition."
Goerke, who is responsible for the administration division, including the budget, agreed saying the APD and city have to share a single pie.
"There's only one taxpayer. The same Abbotsford taxpayer funds the Abbotsford Police Department and the rest of the city's operations."
Police board member Karen Matty commended the APD for returning the funds it could back to the city.
"It's good the APD strives to be efficient and see that things are run tightly . . . as long as the city doesn't come to expect or count on police [budget] funds," Matty said.
Mayor Bruce Banman, chair of the APD board said the transfer was not anticipated by the city.
"We didn't ask for it and we won't count on it," Banman said.
"This is great news for us. It will help out the city budget and any savings we can find anywhere are greatly appreciated and a great demonstration of everybody pitching together."
The funds from the APD aren't earmarked for anything in particular and will be directed to the city general reserves, he said.
Generally, APD surpluses are directed to the operating reserve used to fund large-scale investigations to protect public safety, said Goerke.
The money acts as an insurance fund for unexpected, complex criminal cases or large events such as a kidnapping that can often involve undercover officers, wiretaps, and lots of overtime, potentially scuttling the department's annual budget.
A major investigation can cost as much as $1/2 million or $750,000.
The APD operating reserve currently stands at $1.1 million after the transfer to the city, committing $120,000 to purchase trailers being rented by the department and a transfer of $197,000 towards the APD's 2012 operating budget.
Georke that the current reserve amount was a sufficient cushion for costly investigations.
"That's a good number for us and puts us in the position when have an emergency situation, to have the resources to do what needs to be done."
The bulk of the APD's 2011 surplus was derived from unanticipated savings on wages and represents 1.3 per cent of last year's $40.7 million operating budget.
The savings last year followed a surplus of $438,000 in 2010.