Kingston Police Services Board projecting budget deficit by year’s end

A quarterly budget status update for Kingston Police projects a budget deficit by the end of the year. Kingstonist file photo by Logan Cadue.

Kingston Police will be operating under a budget deficit by year’s end, according to an operating budget status update which will be presented to the Kingston Police Services Board (KPSB) at its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. The report notes net expenditures for the year, as of October 31, 2023, are at just over $37.1 million, representing 83.7 per cent of the total budget for 2023. 

While revenues and expenditures are tracking as “normally experienced year to year,” several unbudgeted expenses have created additional challenges for Kingston Police in trying to stay within the $44.3 million 2023 operating budget. As noted previously, the policing of “post-secondary student mass gatherings” at Queen’s University, including move-in weekend and fall Homecoming, added millions of dollars in costs for the force. 

The report explains, “The unbudgeted costs incurred to police post-secondary student mass gatherings put significant pressure on the Kingston Police fiscal circumstances, making it difficult to manage expenditures and remain within the budget.”

By the end of October, Kingston Police had spent $577,000 policing unsanctioned gatherings in the University District. 

Earlier this year, approximately $147,000 was spent during St. Patrick’s Day festivities in March, while $61,000 in costs were incurred in September, which included Move-In Weekend and activities leading up to Homecoming. Meanwhile, 2023 fall Homecoming celebrations cost Kingston Police $355,000.

While the costs related to unsanctioned events in the University District create significant budgetary challenges for Kingston Police, 2023 expenses were well below the $1.2 million spent in the district in 2022. Despite the lower costs for 2023, these expenses continue to be absorbed “within the existing budgeted amount,” a practice the report notes “is not sustainable.” 

The report adds, “Staff have implemented measures to reduce expenses where possible and continue to pursue new grants and other funding opportunities to limit the overall impact [on] the budget.” Given these challenges, a year-end deficit is projected for 2023. 

While these events create significant fiscal challenges for Kingston Police, the report calls the presence of officers at these events “essential,” adding, “A large portion of these costs are unavoidable to ensure public safety and follow recommended guidelines and regulations.” Finance staff will continue to monitor the financial implications of these unsanctioned events, “with the intent to incorporate effects of these into the 2024 operating budget request so that the budget accurately reflects and aligns with actual needs.”

The table below reflects the net operating information as of October 31, 2023 (revenues less expenditures).

Table via Kingston Police Services Board.

The operating budget status update contains additional information regarding Kingston Police’s year-to-date revenues and recoveries, with the report showing actual revenues of approximately $4.5 million, compared to a budgeted amount of $5.2 million. However, the report explains the majority of revenues are “tracking as expected,” with several “favourable revenue projections” for the rest of the year. 

The report notes that “provincial grant revenues” of $2.1 million have resulted in a “year-to-date surplus of $253,000.” The revenues section also notes “unbudgeted payroll benefit rebates” of $37,000, “resulting from a reduction in the projected cost of claims.” Additionally, “auction proceeds” were higher than budgeted at the first police auction which took place earlier this spring. The report notes, “In accordance with policy, net proceeds generated from the sale of capital items are transferred to the police capital reserve fund.” 

As for expenditures, the report explains that costs “are tracking as expected and/or are consistent with typical timing and other budget variances experienced year to year.” While expenses related to contracted services and contracted maintenance are expected to be within budget, the report forecasts several unfavourable variances by the end of the year. 

With salaries and wages currently at $35.3 million, or 83.5 per cent of the annual budget, “significant variances” are noted, including “overtime costs” which are exceeding projections for this point in the year. The report explains that “overtime costs are highly dependent on the occurrence of major incidents,” which included $346,000 for “post-secondary mass gatherings,” $78,000 for the “Collins Bay shooting incident,” and $19,000 in overtime costs incurred as a result of local rallies in relation to the “Israeli/Hamas conflict in Gaza.” 

Meanwhile, supplies and services are currently at $6.0 million, or 85.53 per cent of the annual budget, “reflecting an unfavourable variance of $155,000.” The force is expected to spend more money on “uniforms and protective clothing” than budgeted for 2024, as the report notes “supply chain issues, inflation, upgrades to safety elements, and new regulations” have all resulted in increased costs. Events in the University District resulted in $231,000 in unbudgeted “investigative service” costs, which includes the contracting of officers from other police agencies “to provide additional staffing resources.” 

In closing, the report notes, “Departments continue to work with finance staff to review variances on a regular basis and look for opportunities to offset cost pressures.” With additional public protests expected this fall and winter, and the expiration of four collective agreements on December 31, 2022, on top of “outstanding labour contract settlements,” the final 2023 budget results may be further impacted throughout the final quarter of the fiscal year. 

In response to Kingstonist inquiries as to the exact amount of the Kingston Police budget deficit, Constable Anthony Colangeli, a Media Relations Officers with Kingston Police, explained the precise numbers in the budget currently.

“The total net cost for the 10 months ending October 31, 2023, of $37.137 million, compares to a 10-month budget of $36.972 million, resulting in a year-to-date deficit of $165,000, or -0.37 per cent,” Colangeli relayed. The 10-month budget was not included in the report to the KPSB.

The information report will be presented to the KPSB during its meeting on Thursday. Dec. 14, 2023, at 12 p.m. at the Kingston Police Headquarters, William Hackett Boardroom, 705 Division Street, Kingston.

One thought on “Kingston Police Services Board projecting budget deficit by year’s end

  • This has become an annual event and taxpayer continues to be punished most. Council and staff seem to be incapable of solving the problem. I’m getting fed up of funding parties at Queens.

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