TO THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF OTTAWA
03 DÉCEMBRE 2007
The POLICE SERVICES BOARD met on 14 nOVEMBER and 26 nOVEMBER 2007 and submits the item contained in this Report for the information and/or approval of Council at its meeting of 03 DECEMBER 2007.
La COMMISSION DE SERVICES POLICIERS s’est réuni les 14 NOVEMBRE ET 26 NOVEMBRE 2007 et soumet l’article du présent rapport au Conseil pour information et/ou approbation lors de sa réunion du 03 DÊCEMBRE 2007.
Present / Présences :
14 Nov. 07 26 Nov. 07
Chair / président: H. Jensen H. Jensen
Vice Chair / vice-président : M. McRae M. McRae
Members / Membres : D. Doran D. Doran
E. El-Chantiry E. El-Chantiry
J. MacEwen J. MacEwen
B. Monette B. Monette
Police Services Board
Commission de Services Policiers
2008 OPERATING AND CAPITAL BUDGET
BUDGETS D’IMMOBILISATIONS ET DE FONCTIONNEMENT 2008
1. 2008 OPERATING AND CAPITAL BUDGET
BUDGETS D’IMMOBILISATIONS ET DE FONCTIONNEMENT 2008
That Council approve:
1. the Ottawa Police Service 2008 Draft Operating and Capital Budget as tabled, with a city tax rate increase in the amount of 1.44% regardless of the amount of 2008 assessment growth;
2. the 2007 refinancing of Project 904135 Records Business Transformation, from Debt to Reserve Funding.
RECOMMANDATION DE LA COMMISSION
Que le Conseil approuve :
1. les budgets de fonctionnement et d’immobilisations 2008 du Service de police tels que déposés, avec une hausse des taxes municipales de 1,44 % quelle que soit l’expansion de l’assiette de l’impôt foncier de 2008.
2. le refinancement du projet 904135 de 2007, dossiers de transformation des activités, en le transférant du financement de la dette au fonds de réserve.
1. Ottawa Police Service Budget Book dated 14 November 2007 previously distributed.
2. Extract of Minutes, 14 November and Draft Minutes, 26 November 2007 are attached.
1. 2008 DRAFT OPERATING AND CAPITAL BUDGET
Chief V. White explained that the 2008 Budget contains consistent increases that focus on two perspectives: the police and the community. This is a community budget as it provides service to our communities. It is driven primarily by significant capital requirements into the future, such as facilities, radio and IT replacement, and the continued costs associated with staffing increases that have resulted directly from collective bargaining and arbitrations.
The Chief thanked the Board for their support throughout the long budget process. He then introduced Director General D. Frazer and Mr. G. Simpson, Director, Finance and Materiel Management, to make the presentation.
D/G Frazer guided Board members through the presentation. (A copy of the presentation is on file with the Board’s Executive Director.) She thanked the Executive Team, managers and supervisors who came forward with their suggestions, and everyone involved in the process for their assistance.
Board members congratulated staff for presenting budget issues in a clear and transparent manner. A discussion resulted from the presentation and the following points of clarification were made:
· The OPS’ annual portion of provincial funding is $4.5 million. This amount is appropriate for covering costs related to new hires; however, a budget pressure is created when salaries increase. Incremental or step-up costs in the amount of $800,000 are related to this pressure for 2008 and identified within the budget each year.
· Currently no dollar amounts related to federal funding have been identified in the 2008 Budget. The Chief will continue to pursue this matter as he has not yet received a formal response from Public Safety Canada.
· Labour costs collected from paid duties are paid directly to the officers. An overhead premium for administering the contract, and if necessary vehicle usage, is charged to help offset some of the OPS’ costs. Staff will attempt to determine the approximate costs recoverable by the OPS as a result of paid duty.
· It was suggested that an executive summary be provided when presenting the Budget and that it include the increase in volume of priority calls and how the additional pressures on resources are managed.
· Any specific questions Board members have regarding the Budget should be directed to Director General Frazer or the Director of Finance, G. Simpson.
· It should be highlighted that after the 2008 budget increase, budgets over the next three years will recommend reduced police tax rates.
· Referring to the presentation, it was noted that the cost per household ($36) of the proposed tax increase should be identified in the slide entitled “Term of Board Draft Forecast” so that all relevant information is easily accessible for residents.
· The suggestion that crime in Ottawa is going down and as a result the budget should not increase is refuted by the rising costs associated with policing. Police agencies across Canada have seen a reduction in some crimes, however, there is an increase in other types of crimes that are often times more difficult and time consuming to investigate.
· Reduced fleet maintenance costs are associated primarily with the capital replacement plan that is in place; significant requirements are dealt with on a unit-by-unit basis. Also, there has been a significant reduction in service vehicle accidents over the past two years.
· The Police Service exists to serve the public. It is important when delivering budget information to the community that it is presented in a manner that directly correlates the budget figures to the services being offered.
The Board then considered the following motions:
That the Ottawa Police Services Board receive and table the Ottawa Police 2008 Draft Operating and Capital Budget for consideration and approval at its meeting on 26 November.
Moved by B. Monette
That the Ottawa Police Services Board consider for approval at its meeting on 26 November 2007 the refinancing of the 2007 Project 904135 Records Business Transformation, from Debt to Reserve Funding.
1. PUBLIC DELEGATIONS ON THE 2008 BUDGET
There were no public delegations.
2. APPROVAL OF 2008 BUDGET
Ms. D. Frazer, Director General, explained that the presentation would consist of a short summary regarding the last steps in the budget approval process and an outline of the supplementary information that resulted from questions raised by Board members at the 14 November 2007 meeting. Staff have been attending the Councillor’s information sessions and budget consultations to explain what drives the OPS budget, hear from members of the public and answer their questions.
Board members commended staff for their diligence and hard work that has resulted in this budget. Having had the opportunity to review the Budget book and hear the presentation, Board members raised numerous questions. Issues raised and clarified during the discussion were as follows:
· The almost $600,000 deficit caused by the Stanley Cup Playoffs is identified in the 2007 year end deficit of $2.4 million. The Municipal Act states that all deficits must be funded by one of two ways, either through reserve funds or being the first thing taxed in the subsequent year. In the latter case, Council would have to advise the OPS to include it in the 2008 Budget and it has not done so.
· The Court Overtime area (page 45) has achieved close to $600,000 in efficiencies over the last two years. These savings were the result of two initiatives: an arbitration decision allowed for a favourable change to the formula used for calculating court overtime costs; and the Strategic Staffing Initiative (SSI) allowed the Service to assign more case managers and streamline the case management function. This budget item is reviewed on a monthly basis and it has been successfully reduced each time. Staff indicated it is not unrealistic to expect further savings in the range of $10,000 to $20,000 to be achieved.
· The Special Overtime area (page 45) is commonly referred to as “Paid Duty”. This is a service offered to members of the public and municipal partners should they require certain police services such as traffic control, escort and security. All costs are recovered from the individual requesting the service. All budgeted expenses within Special Overtime are completely recovered (see revenue line Off Duty Policing on page 47).
· The Overtime budget is in the range of $2.8 million, as it has been for a number of years. It has been adjusted to account for the changes in salary agreements and growth. Overtime is an item on the Executive Dashboard and is reviewed monthly for different approaches to manage the budget base. There was great success in bringing the budget in line with spending until June, when the Stanley Cup Playoffs created a $600,000 deficit in overtime. Overtime continued to increase in July, August and September due primarily to homicides. These investigations require prolonged activity and have been absorbing overtime costs above budget levels.
· Staff have been attempting to build a $1 million Criminal Investigations Section (CIS) project fund which is currently helping to offset some of the overtime pressure. This strategy has been used over the past two years to separate the projects that have been undertaken and the overtime that is required for investigations. The Business Plan provides for a $250,000 contribution to the CIS Investigative Fund that will bring the balance to $750,000 in 2008. The final $250,000 in 2009 will bring the level to $1 million.
· Page II of the Budget book shows the 2007 OPS approved spending increase was 3.1% while the increases of other comparable Ontario police services ranged from 4.6% to 9.7%. The OPS’ net operating budget increase for 2008 is 9.3%, which includes a $5 million increase in the capital base. If the $5 million capital expense was removed from the budget, the 2008 increase would then be between 6.5% and 7%, comparable to those of other police services. Some police services do not include capital expenditures in their budget numbers, therefore there is a misconception that all things are equal when they are not.
· The Chief confirmed that staff are always looking for efficiencies. This year’s budget contains additional funding requirements due to a difficult budget in 2007. It is believed that the current deployment review will identify efficiencies, whether it translates into immediate economies has yet to be determined.
· On 14 November 2007 the City Treasurer advised Council that the assumption of 2% assessment growth in 2008 might be at risk. The final assessment roll has not yet been determined, but City staff estimate it could be 1.7% to 1.8%, which could impact the OPS budget. In order to deal with this, there are two options for the Board to consider: a greater 2008 tax increase (up to 1.49%) or a reduction in the 2008 budget request. Member El-Chantiry indicated he would move a motion to deal with the potential smaller than anticipated assessment growth.
· The Benefits for Retirees area has been reconciled, all benefits for retirees have been brought up to date, and outstanding and owing amounts have been confirmed. The significant increase ensures there is a proper base to fund retiree benefits going forward. There has been a significant increase in retirees in the past three to four years, so the number also reflects growth in the retiree base.
· Growth in the City was lower than originally projected but it is not reflected in the OPS budget. Member El-Chantiry suggested that a presentation should be provided at community meetings in future to explain to the public about the increase in calls for service and the changes in policing required to handle them.
· The Software/Hardware Maintenance area includes funds for ongoing maintenance agreements, an additional increase for the e-ticketing software and additional user licences. Increases for software licences and agreements are in the range of 7% to 8%, which is higher than inflation level increases.
· The Property Lease area provides for three different storage requirements: the move of functions and sections to meet growth demands within the Service, which will affect approximately 60 to 90 people; 2,000 to 3,000 sq.ft. for key supplies and equipment identified by the pandemic group; and covered storage for some specialty vehicles. The goal is to meet these demands while buying time until the west and south division facilities are complete.
· The Personal/Safety Supplies/Clothing area contains an increase related to uniforms. The primary increase in the Quartermaster budget is for a move to a different fabric in the uniforms worn by police officers. Currently uniforms are made of a poly-cotton fabric, which tends to fade and wear very quickly. The new fabric is a poly-wool blend that is lighter and more durable, therefore maintaining its professional look longer. With a fabric that lasts longer and keeps it colour better, the replacement cycle will occur less frequently. The one time cost to fit the entire Service is offset by a one-time contribution from the reserve fund. Councillor Monette expressed concern about this expenditure and indicated he would dissent on this particular item.
· Chief White indicated his support for the move to the more durable fabric. He noted the new uniforms are also in response to a request to have a red stripe placed on constable uniforms made by the Uniform Committee to make them more obvious to members of the public. It is very difficult to distinguish emergency services by their look, and to tell police from non-police security agencies, as they wear an almost identical uniform.
Mr. Simpson outlined two options available to the Board regarding the 2008 Assessment Growth rate. There is a net operating request before the Board of approximately $204.4 million for 2008. Should the Board choose to approve this amount, whatever happens with assessment growth will affect the net tax requirement. Another option would be to approve a motion stating if there is a decrease in assessment growth the Board would adjust the $204.4 million as necessary to ensure the City-wide tax increase is no greater than 1.44% and staff would come back to the Board with options to achieve the required reductions.
Member El-Chantiry felt more comfortable approving the 1.44% tax increase, and should the assessment growth rate fall short it would be up to staff to find the necessary efficiencies. He indicated he would propose this motion.
Vice Chair McRae indicated her support for the motion and felt that the Board and Service have been very careful and deliberate in providing a responsible budget. As a member of the Police Services Board, she would not feel comfortable voting to maintain the $204.4 million budget when the possibility of an increase exists. She was not prepared to support a tax rate increase of more than 1.44%.
Member Monette said he would support the 1.44% increase as well, however, he would be dissenting on the budget line item 505478 Personal/Safety Supplies/Clothing expenditure on page 46.
Moved by E. El-Chantiry
That the Ottawa Police Services Board approve the Ottawa Police Service 2008 Draft Operating and Capital Budget as tabled, with a city tax rate increase in the amount of 1.44% regardless of the amount of 2008 assessment growth.
CARRIED as amended
(B. Monette dissented on cost element 505478 - Personal/Safety Supplies/Clothing)
YEAS: D. Doran, E. El-Chantiry, D. Guilmet-Harris, H. Jensen, J. MacEwen, M. McRae, B. Monette
The Board then voted on the following remaining recommendations:
That the Ottawa Police Services Board approve the 2007 refinancing of Project 904135 Records Business Transformation, from Debt to Reserve Funding.
That the Ottawa Police Services Board forward the 2008 Budget to City Council for approval.
Vice Chair McRae believed the Board showed leadership in not asking Council to cover the additional $500,000 that could result from the lower than expected 2008 assessment growth. She also felt it was important that this was an unanimous Board decision and asked that these messages be conveyed to City Council.