The Ottawa Police Service will be able makes ends meet with a 2.5 per cent increase to their share of property tax, according to their draft 2012 budgets tabled Wednesday morning.
If approved, the 2012 net operating budget will be $246.7 million’$9.3 million more than 2011, representing a tax increase of $13 per year for the average urban household, police officials said.
The service expects an $8.6 million increase in compensation for its 1,363 officers and 583 civilian members’but that number is an estimate because collective agreements with the Ottawa Police Association and the Senior Officers Association expired in January 2011 and new agreements are under negotiation.
“Human resource costs in policing, when all you provide is human resource response is a pressure on us all the time,” said Chief Vern White, adding he is not part of the labour talks.
Staffing costs make up 84 per cent of the gross operating budget and the police service is not planning to expand staffing until 2015. Until then, the service will conduct a review to make sure resources are deployed in the most effect way, said White.
“Not having growth over a long period of time will have a negative effect, it’s the reason in 2015 we’re back into a growth pattern on 22 staff. That is based on population growth,” he said. “It is what it is. We all know it’s a tough fiscal environment.”
White said the 2013 budget will be more challenging, because there is a risk of $1.5 million of funding from the upper levels of government coming to an end.
White said he hopes the Ontario Liberal government will make good on an election promise to continue with about $600,000 of funding for Ottawa under the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS).
He also hopes the federal government continues to fund the 2,500 Officer program, is worth about $700,000 to Ottawa Police Service.
“I’m hoping that the federal government will find a way to continue with the 2,500 Officer program. It fits with the tough on crime agenda and it requires resources to fulfill that,” said White.
If neither funding avenue pans out, the Ottawa Police Service would have to cut positions to meet budget demands, he said.