Kingston Police report on 2024 first quarter spending

Photo via Kingston Police.

According to a new report, the cost of policing in Kingston was “tracking as expected” at the end of the first quarter of 2024.

In advance of the monthly meeting of the Kingston Police Services Board (KPSB), Chief of Police Scott Fraser and Director of Finance Scarlet Eyles published their Operating Budget Status Update as of March 31, 2024. The update states that the net cost for the three months ending March 31 was $11.9 million, 25.05 per cent of the total annual budget of $47.5 million.

The report notes that “revenues and expenditures are tracking as expected and/or reflect expected seasonal and timing variances normally experienced year to year.” It also points out, “Staff regularly monitor and review budget variance information to ensure that net spending remains within the approved budget parameters. This allows for unanticipated variances to be identified on a timely basis and any necessary corrective action to be taken in response to changing circumstances and conditions.”

This table from the report reflects the net operating information (revenues less expenditures).

Gross revenues and expenditures, as reported, show actual revenues of approximately $1.2 million compared to a budget of $5.3 million and expenditures of $13.1 million compared to a budget of $52.9 million. 

Revenues

The report states that the “majority of revenues are tracking as expected and/or reflect expected seasonal and timing variances in services such as alarm licensing, paid duties, and background checks.”

Provincial grant revenues are approximately $624,000, or 31 per cent of the annual budget, resulting in a year-to-date surplus. These results include $63,000 of unbudgeted provincial funding to support victims of intimate partner violence. According to the report, the additional grant revenues offset corresponding costs.

The report explains an unfavourable balance in expenditure recovery of 17.89 per cent due to “the timing of other budgeted recoveries for officer secondments.”

The payroll experience recovery shows unbudgeted rebates of $26,000 resulting from a reduction in the projected cost of claims. The report notes that benefit costs are budgeted annually based on estimated plan premiums.

According to the report, auction proceeds were much higher than budgeted. The proceeds of the first police auction of the year were $42,093, which the report says was $2,093 over the predicted budget for the entire year. It also notes that net proceeds generated from the sale of capital items are transferred to the police capital reserve fund in accordance with an established policy.

Expenditures

The report notes that most expenditures are trending as expected and are consistent with typical timing and other budget variances experienced year to year, such as payroll benefits, which are skewed to the first half of the year, and paid duty, where demand occurs later in the year. Contracted maintenance is typically favourable in the first two quarters, as routine maintenance projects occur later in the year.

Salaries and wages are $11.4 million or 25.21 per cent of the annual budget, and the report notes a year-to-date unfavourable variance of approximately $93,000. “Absentee costs related to WSIB [Workplace Safety and Insurance Board], other leaves, and accommodations” are noted pressures on the budget.

Full-time wages are under budget at $7.6 million of the expected $31.7 million. The report explains this is primarily due to staff vacancies and the timing of new hires.

Part-time wages are unfavourable at $833,000 over the budgeted prediction; the report notes that this reflects backfill requirements due to full-time staff vacancies in the communications centre.

At the end of March, overtime costs exceeded budgeted projections by $69,000. The report explains that these costs are highly dependent on the occurrence of major incidents, and $117,000 of costs were incurred to police the St. Patrick’s Day events within the University District.

The report also notes that four collective agreements expired on December 31, 2022, and budget results include an estimated labour contract settlement amount.

Supplies and services are $1.6 million or 21.51 per cent of the annual budget, reflecting a favourable variance of $259,000. The report notes that this includes costs such as uniforms and protective clothing, gasoline and diesel fuel, fleet parts and tires, telecommunications, education, and training. Contracted services and contracted maintenance include asset maintenance and support contracts and other service contracts including cleaning services, winter control, and city building maintenance charges. Professional services include legal and consulting services.

Notably, software is over budget due to the timing of renewal contracts which cover the fiscal year. The report notes, “By year-end, it is projected that software will be within budget.”

According to the report, investigative services include $47,000 of costs to support policing the University District events; “these costs primarily reflect bringing reinforcements from other police agencies to provide additional staffing resources.”

The report concludes by pointing out that departments work with finance staff to review variances on a regular basis and look for opportunities to offset cost pressures. Unforeseen circumstances, situations, or activities always present a budgetary risk to a police budget, such as spikes in crime rates or activities, protests, and unsanctioned gatherings.

This budget status update will be presented to the Kingston Police Services Board at its next meeting on Thursday, May 16, 2024, at 12 p.m. in the William Hackett Boardroom at Kingston Police Headquarters, 705 Division Street.

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