Kingston City Council will receive the Kingston Police Services Board (KPSB) Quarterly Report at its regularly scheduled Council meeting on Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2023.
As part of the 2023 budget deliberations, KPSB was asked to submit a quarterly financial report to Council, with variance explanations and accompanied by a briefing. The report being presented Tuesday is in fulfillment of that request for Q2 (second quarter) 2023 with respect to Kingston Police Services.
The information report provides a financial status update of the general operating budget for the Kingston Police as of June 30, 2023. Exhibits accompanying the report provide detailed budget and actual information and resulting variances by revenue and expense for an overall net operating position which reflects 51 per cent of the total budget as of June 30, 2023.
The report states that revenues and expenditures are working out as anticipated and reflect expected seasonal and timing variances normally experienced year to year.
However, as reported last quarter, the unbudgeted costs incurred for policing post-secondary student mass gatherings continue to put significant pressure on Kingston Police finances, making it difficult to manage and forecast overall expenditures. At the end of the second quarter, there were $147,000 in costs incurred to police the St. Patrick’s Day events within the University District, and over the Labour Day move-in weekend and subsequent week, more than 550 charges and fines were issued. This is a significant spike in tickets compared to last year, when only 44 charges were laid. The report states that it is anticipated that there will be significant costs incurred over the third quarter of 2023.
“Aside from these unbudgeted costs incurred,” the report states that “staff would project a balanced net operating position by year-end, staying within the approved budget.”
The report notes that staff are actively engaged in comprehensive planning and cost forecasting related to staffing and scheduling to minimize expenses that are anticipated with the Homecoming events and return of students in the University District. It points out that a large portion of these costs are unavoidable to ensure public safety and follow recommended guidelines and regulations.
According to the report, staff will continue to monitor the financial impacts of policing unsanctioned gatherings, in order to incorporate them into the 2024 operating budget request so that the budget accurately reflects and aligns with actual needs.
The discussion below provides further information on the general operating revenue and expenditure results to June 30, 2023. For additional details, quarterly budget status reports are provided to the Police Services Board and presented during the board’s regular public meetings. Past reports are available on the Kingston Police website.
With respect to the overall Operating Revenue and Expenditure results, the total net cost for the six months ending June 30, 2023, was $22.6 million, compared to a budget of $22.2 million, resulting in a year-to-date deficit of $462,000 or 2.08 per cent.
Gross revenues and expenditures, as reported, show actual revenues of approximately $2.4 million in comparison to a budget of approximately $2.6 million, and expenditures of $25 million in comparison to a budget of $24.8 million.
The table below reflects the net operating information (revenues less expenditures).
The report notes that the majority of revenues are as expected, reflecting expected seasonal and timing variances in services such as alarm licensing, paid duties, and background checks. There are some favourable revenue projections and other variance clarifications.
For example, the report notes that provincial grant revenues are exceeding projections, resulting in a positive variance of $58,000. Results include $238,000 of unbudgeted provincial funding (75 per cent) to support automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology. The timing of two Court Security Prisoner Transportation (CSPT) grant payments offsets the positive variance noted above, by $110,000. In addition, the CSPT grant agreement for 2023 is less than projected and is contributing to a shortfall of $70,000. The additional ALPR grant revenues offset corresponding costs of $282,000 in expenditure recovery.
The report stipulates that the remaining unfavourable balance in expenditure recovery reflects the timing of other budgeted recoveries.
Most of the expenditures are trending as expected, according to the report, or 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 services are proportionately higher in the first half of the year and reflect the timing of large renewal contracts which cover the fiscal year. By year end, it is projected that contracted services will be within budget.
As well, the report notes that salaries and wages are 50.43 per cent of the annual budget ( $21.3 million), resulting in a year to-date unfavourable variance of approximately $183,000.
The report points out that full-time wages are under budget, primarily due to staff vacancies, turnover, and the timing of new hires. Part-time wages are unfavourable, reflecting backfill requirements due to staff vacancies, primarily in the communications centre.
Further, overtime costs “are $282,000 higher than budget with $88,000 of unbudgeted costs related to policing the St. Patrick’s Day events and $78,000 attributed to the Collins Bay shooting incident” that occurred in March 2023.
The remaining variance is primarily due to coverage for staff vacancies and other reimbursable overtime, such as the RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) program. Supplies and services are 49.83 per cent of the annual budget ($3.5 million), reflecting a favourable variance of $12,000.
The report reiterates that Kingston Police anticipates what it calls “significant cost pressures” later this year as a result of unsanctioned gatherings. As well, labour contracts expired last year, and outstanding labour contract settlements may impact the 2023 budget results.
The report coming before Council is available in its entirety on the Kingston City Council meeting agenda page, and Tuesday’s Council meeting can be watched live (or viewed afterward) on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.