OPP Costing Initiative - 2017
FEATURE: STRAIGHT TALK ON POLICING
Welcome to Straight Talk on Policing. Midland Council will be meeting on September the 6th to decide about the future of policing in Midland. As you might expect this has started a discussion in the community and raised a number of questions from residents. To help you understand the background issues we are setting up this Straight Talk on Policing feature for you to hear about the questions and get the facts about the Town of Midland's OPP costing discussion.
In the days leading up to the Public Information Session on August 23rd, we will address the main concerns/questions that residents have submitted to us. Each edition of Straight Talk on Policing will focus on one or two key issues. Please share this link with your friends and family and check back often for updates.
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OPP Costing Next Meeting Dates
Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017
Public Information Session
North Simcoe Sports & Rec Centre (527 Len Self Blvd.)
Two meeting opportunities: 2pm & 7pm
Wednesday, September 6th, 2017
Special Council Meeting
North Simcoe Sports & Rec Centre (527 Len Self Blvd.)
ISSUE #1 - Local Knowledge, Jobs, & Community Presence Preserved
A number of residents have asked if we were to go with the OPP, does that mean losing local policing knowledge?
It's important to understand that the majority of front line police officers will not change under the OPP model. In past OPP transitions (from municipal policing), almost 100% of local uniformed officers in good standing are given the opportunity to move to the OPP if they choose to. In the last number of transitions to OPP services, in all but two instances, 100% of the uniformed officers transitioned to the OPP and continued to provide frontline police services in those same communities.
As for civilian staff, the OPP proposal states there will be seven full time civilian positions within the Georgian Bay detachment. The Midland Police civilian staff will have the opportunity to apply for those local positions, as well as others within the Ontario Provincial Police Service locations.
We do recognize and appreciate the feelings of uncertainty this process may bring to the employees at Midland Police. In the event a decision were made to move to the OPP, the local knowledge and goodwill which our frontline officers have developed in the community will continue to be preserved.
ISSUE #2 - Breakdown of Police Staffing Complement
There have been some questions by members of the community expressing concerns about the size and scale of the proposed OPP Policing model. Let's examine the OPP proposal vs the current Midland Police Service staffing level to answer those concerns.
What are the resources allocated to the Town of Midland by way of the proposal?
In reality, the actual number of front line resources the OPP is proposing is higher than the current resource allocation by the Midland Police Service. The OPP have assured through the proposal that the town will be serviced by 3 front line officers and a Sergeant 24 hours per day 7 days a week.
It provides for a staffing compliment of 28.33 equivalent full time uniformed personnel, plus 7 Civilian positions broken down into the following:
* In the event that the Police Chief and Inspector do not transition to the OPP, the transition contract will be adjusted accordingly to reflect that fact.
The OPP Option provides the Town with additional manpower based on the examination of the workload statistics provided by the MPS. The OPP intend to staff the Midland downtown police building with 3 front line officers, plus a Sergeant, 24 hours per day. The OPP also intend to provide the services of a Staff Sergeant at the downtown police building during normal business hours (Monday-Friday). Under extenuating circumstances, there is a potential under the deployment model that a police resource could be drawn out of Midland to assist with an urgent matter in an adjoining community. Today, that same situation exists with the Midland Police Service who may be called upon to provide assistance to the OPP. The same reciprocal arrangement exists where resources may be required in Midland and OPP resources from the Georgian Bay Detachment are re-deployed to assist Midland Police in our community. Our residents will recognize the integrated deployment model which is used for the provision of our Land Ambulance Service. Through the oversight and direction of the County of Simcoe, the deployment of Land Ambulance crews are managed through a similar integrated deployment model right across Simcoe County. The system strives to minimize response times and to priorities calls.
Regardless of the "stand alone" vs. the "integrated deployment" models of policing services, the facts are clear: the OPP proposal calls for additional front line resources for the community. Earlier this year, the Midland Police Association expressed to both the Midland Police Services Board and the Midland Police Chief they had concerns related to the current staffing level of front-line policing resources. As we look to the future we will need to consider the suggested staffing issue and the associated cost consideration.
Please stay tuned! Next we will tackle the details respecting the OPP costing proposal (years 1-3) and the OPP Costing Model (years 4-10).
Issue #3 – Understanding the OPP Costing Process (Part One)
A number of questions have come up about the actual costs presented to Council by both the Consultants and the Town's Administration. Let's take a careful look at how and what these numbers mean.
The OPP Costs are presented and costed out using two very distinct and different timeframes and approaches. The first 3 years of the OPP contract is called the "transition contract" period. The costs associated for this period were determined by the OPP costing proposal (presented to Council on February 8th, 2017). The numbers are based on a set number of contractual hours (represented by Full-Time equivalent positions) that address the level of policing based upon the volume of policing activity in the community. The numbers provided in the OPP "Contract Policing Proposal" are detailed in the document. Some adjustments are provided for on the basis of certain positions transitioning into the OPP service (or not).
The second part of the OPP costing process (year four through year 10) which has generated some confusion relates to the allocation of costs using the OPP Billing model. The OPP Billing Model was revamped following extensive consultation with various stakeholders and took effect on January 1, 2015.
So exactly how does the OPP Billing Model work?
OPP costing takes a "provincial focus" on costs and divides the majority of the policing costs into two of the three categories. In its most basic form, the OPP Billing model allocates the cost of policing into categories: (1) Base Service (meaning proactive police work), and (2) Calls for Service (meaning reactive policing, or responding to calls). The third category "(3) Additional Costs" is the variable component specific to the local policing circumstances and includes building maintenance activity, Court Security, Prisoner transport, overtime costs etc.
(1) Base Services include: Legislative activities (crime prevention, directed patrol, victim assistance, etc.) proactive policing (RIDE, traffic safety, community policing, intelligence gathering, etc.), Officer training and administrative duties, All Inspector and Staff Sergeant positions.
(2) Calls for Service include: Crime calls (assaults, break & enters, mischief, drug offences, etc.) Provincial Statute enforcement (Mental Health Act, Trespass to Property Act, Landlord/Tenant disputes, etc.), Motor Vehicle collisions (property damage, personal injury, fatal, etc.), General calls for service (false alarms, lost property, missing persons, etc.).
(3) Additional Costs include: Municipal specific related costs such as: Overtime, Court Security, Cleaning and Caretaking, Accommodations, Enhanced Services, Prisoner Transportation
For the purpose of explaining the Billing Model we have to examine the OPP's overall municipal policing costs (province wide) in order to determine their base costs and their calls for service
This is the 2017 Billing model province wide allocation of OPP Costs:
|||OPP Total||Base Service||Calls Service|
|Salaries and Benefits|| $328,681,723||$195,668,108 ||$133,013,615|
|Other Direct Costs ||$36,673,216||$21,895,639||$15,095,854|
The Total number of properties in OPP municipal policed jurisdictions = 1,134,106
The Base cost for each municipality in the OPP family is $217,563,747 / 1,134,106 = $191.84
BASE Services Cost per property for our calculation has been rounded up to $192.00
For the Base Service category, each and every municipality that uses OPP municipal policing pays the same base rate/per property across the province. In 2017, the OPP calculate the base service cost at $191.84 per property. To simplify the calculation, we have rounded up the cost to $192. This base rate is multiplied by the number of properties (residential, commercial and industrial) in our municipality. For Midland, the number of properties used for the calculation is 8,340.
Midland's Base Costs therefore would equal:
$192.00 X 8,340 = $1,601,280.00
The Calls For Service category is determined by tracking the frequency and nature of the calls for service in the community. A municipality is assessed on a percentage basis for the total OPP municipal workload across the province. The percentage is based upon the statistics from across the province and based on weighted average hours for reactive calls. For example, a response to a serious matter is likely to take more time and potentially more resources than matters of a minor nature. Therefore the proportion of the cost to service a serious matter would be reflected in the actual cost allocation.
For the purpose of the calculations presented in the reports to Town Council, the Calls for Service were calculated using the data provided by Midland Police Services (MPS) statistics for reactive policing. The reactive calls for service rely on a multi-year average which works out a per-incident time allocation. The OPP aggregates the reactive calls from across the various municipal jurisdictions they serve and determine the average incident time per type of call. Then we can determine the costs for Calls for Service based upon our actual experience in Midland using our local data. In both cases, our Consultants and our Administration determined the amount to be $2,437,430.00 (using 2014/2015 and 2016 MPS stats).
The last component for the OPP billing model is the "Additional Costs" which are billed directly to each individual municipality based upon the specifics circumstances related to their respective community.
These items include: Overtime, Court Security, Prisoner Transport, Accommodation and Cleaning (see adjustment below –accounted for by Town), Service Enhancements (requested by the municipality). In the case of Midland these have been calculated as follows:
Overtime estimated $155,308
Court Security $194,340
Prisoner Transport $ 43,471
Additional Total $393,119
Adding these three components together (Base Service + Calls for Service + Additional Costs)
$1,601,280 + $2,437,430 +$ 393,119 = $4,431,829
Lost Revenue – Vehicle Servicing - town $8,099 Ongoing building/maintenance/custodial expenses $53,421
Police Service Board Expenses $74,824
Ongoing Capital Requirements $10,824
Anticipated Net Court Security grant (paid to OPP) $ 380,505 CR
Projected internal capacity (Finance/HR/Admin $ 65,594 CR
Support to MPS)
2021 Estimated NET OPP COST $ 4,132,898
Based upon the projected 2021 OPP Costs of $4,132,898 the cost per property would be:
$4,132,898 / 8340 = $495.55 per property
How does the cost equate to the Midland Police Service on a per property basis?
Using the forecasted 2021 Midland Police Service Budget $5,349,741/ 8,340 = $641.46 per property
For those interested in a more detailed explanation regarding the OPP Municipal Police Billing, please check out: https://www.opp.ca/index.php?&lng=en&id=115&entryid=57ea879c8f94acbb54c7dd15
Issue #4: Understanding The OPP Costing Process (Part Two)
Question: How can the Town be certain that the long term projections shown in the calculations related to an OPP municipal policing option will materialize?
In other words, can we give a 100% guarantee that the numbers will materialize as presented by year 10? The simple answer is, no we can't. However, there is a high degree of confidence that the numbers generated through the costing process reflect the best information available for the purpose of this exercise.
With the support of Midland Police Chief and the Ad-hoc Advisory Committee, we carried out a line-by-line review of the of Midland Police Service budget. As part of that exercise we examined the past 3 years of the Midland Police Budget to help guide us with certain future projections. We developed a 10-year budget forecast which used past financial data as well as using certain assumptions.
Some of the factors we considered included the following (click to enlarge):
We are confident with the projections and the assumptions used in determining the future cost of the Midland Police Service. In addition, we have relied upon the OPP costing tool to project future costs based upon the recent experiences (calls for service) recorded by the Midland Police Service.
There was some concern that the estimated savings over time would not materialize with a move to an OPP contracted service. To address that concern we looked at three municipalities who transition to the OPP and whose property counts were closer to the Midland experience. It was clear that in all three cases the implementation of the new OPP Costing Model has resulted in financial savings (click to enlarge):
We also examined the current cost of OPP policing across Simcoe County and did a comparison on a per property basis for the 2017 fiscal year. In all cases, the cost per property for OPP policing was lower than the Midland Policing option on a cost per property basis (click to enlarge).
Background/Service Delivery Review
As most residents know, this Council has been working on a Service Delivery Review project. This project will review and determine the levels for all municipal services which we fund through your property taxes. You may recall that back in 2013, the previous Council had asked the Province to provide a cost for OPP services in our municipality. It has taken some time, but the OPP costing proposal has been delivered (February, 2017).
Policing is an expensive service and makes up a significant portion of your tax bill (26-28% over the past two taxation years). This Council is trying to ensure that we have a long-term, sustainable policing solution in place for the future. The OPP costing initiative is simply about asking whether or not a different policing model could be that solution. It’s a simple question, but also a complex issue. There are a number of issues and unique challenges to consider.
For this reason, Council hired an independent consultant to help look at the costs and services with a view to providing an assessment for policing services in our town. This way they could be sure we’re getting the most objective and balanced information to help make this important decision.
The consultants have delivered their conclusions to Council, which have been presented publically and in the media. We’re here to walk you through the issues and questions we’ve been asked by the public and Midland Police.
MEDIA RELEASE - OPP Costing Analysis Advances to Public Consultation Phase
At its monthly meeting on July 24th, 2017, Midland Council received the final report from the OPP costing consultants and the Town's Chief Administrative Officer on behalf of the Council Ad-hoc OPP Costing Committee that recommended the Town proceed to the next phase of the public consultation process.
A presentation from Midland CAO John Skorobohacz noted that findings of the work of the consultants indicated that the OPP service could be a significantly cheaper policing option over a period of 10 years.
"This report is strictly a review for cost effectiveness," said Skorobohacz. "It does not contain commentary on the quality of the current Midland Police Services. At a minimum, the report acknowledges there is an ability to provide effective policing in a more efficient manner."
The next steps will incorporate media advertisements related to the public information and consultation meetings. Both the OPP and our Consultants will be attending the public information and consultation meetings for the purpose of answering questions related to the OPP costing initiative. Residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and get more information about the OPP policing option for Midland. Following the consultation meetings a final report will be prepared for a Special Council Meeting to be held on September 6, 2017.
The full report from the OPP Costing analysis can be downloaded here:
Comparative Cost Summary MPS and OPP July 21 2017
On Wednesday, February 8th, 2017, Town Council received the initial costing presentation from the OPP. If you were unable to attend, you may view the video via the Rogers Midland TV broadcast live stream.
The Town and its members of Council have been receiving questions from the public about the process, both financial and otherwise. If you have a question, please submit it to our Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll ensure it gets to the Costing Committee.
OPP Costing Committee
The Costing Committee consists of the following members:
Gord McKay (Midland Mayor), Glen Canning (Councillor), George MacDonald (Councillor), Stewart Strathearn (Councillor and Police Service Board Member), Midland Police Chief Mike Osborne, Susan Turnbull (Treasurer, Town of Midland), and John Skorobohacz (CAO, Town of Midland).
The committee will be supported by the firms Asymmetric Consulting Inc. and Pomax Consulting Inc., both experienced in this type of work and analysis.
OPP Costing Background
(Town of Midland Media Release - 24/03/2016)
In late 2015, OPP launched a new "simplified" billing model for their services. Since that time several communities across Ontario have expressed an interest in obtaining an OPP costing. At its December meeting, Midland Council unanimously agreed to proceed with requesting a costing from the OPP.
"Policing costs account for a significant part of the Town's annual budget," said Mayor Gord McKay. Last year, Policing represented 27.5% of the municipal budget, the largest share of any department. McKay adds, "The proportional growth of this number is also of concern to Council, as just five years ago the police budget represented only 16-18% of the annual budget."
While the costing will provide financial information, Midland Council remains committed to ensuring that the high quality level of policing service is maintained. "There's no question that Midland Police and OPP both provide a quality policing service," said McKay. "The costing exercise will be structured to ensure that we are comparing similar levels of policing services for the community. Once the costing analysis is complete, we can turn our attention to the question of whether we want to change services or not."
Council has also approved the composition of the OPP Costing Process Ad Hoc Committee to assist in the process. The Committee includes members of Council, Staff, the Council Representative from the Police Services Board, and the Chief of Police.
Additional Media Coverage
Transition to OPP Could Save Midland $7.8M Over 10 years - (Midland Mirror, 07/25/2017)
OPP Make Pitch To Police Midland - CTV News, 09/02/17)
The Numbers Are Out - (104.1 The Dock FM, 09/02/17)
Midland To Consider OPP Proposal for Policing - (CTV News, 06/02/17)
OPP Costing For Town of Midland to Begin (Midland Mirror, 06/02/17)