Ottawa Police Services Board report recommends drafting 2022 police budget with zero per cent funding hike
OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Police Service will draft its 2022 operating budget with a zero per cent increase in funding, as the service faces calls from some councillors and the community to freeze spending.
A report for the Ottawa Police Services Board asks members for "formal confirmation" to direct the service to draft a 2022 budget "that assumes a zero per cent increase as its base."
The motion from Chief Peter Sloly says the budget must include a "detailed explanation of any additional funding beyond the zero per cent required to ensure the provision of adequate and effective policing in the city of Ottawa in 2022."
The budget will also outline any related inflationary and/or collective bargaining increases.
The report submitted by Chief Sloly also directs staff to provide a detailed option plan for investments in 2022 and beyond that will lead to the "optimal allocation of current resources to match workload and the effective engagement of community assets."
Last November, the board passed a motion that the Ottawa Police Finance and Audit Committee strike a working group to determine how the 2022 Ottawa Police Service budget could be reduced or frozen at 2021 levels. If achieved, the board's motion would represent a zero per cent police tax levy increase in the OPS budget in 2022.
In July, a report for the Ottawa Police Services Board warned a budget freeze in 2022 would result in the elimination of 140 officers, longer response times and the suspension of all recruiting, hiring and promotions. Staff said a zero per cent increase in the Ottawa Police levy on the property tax bill would result in a $13.5 million deficit.
Staff said even if police received a three per cent increase in the police levy, the service would still be facing a $2.3 million deficit in 2022.
The report for Monday's board meeting says there are two major areas beyond the control of the Ottawa Police Service that will impact the draft budget: Inflationary issues placing pressures on operations and budgets and contract talks with the Ottawa Police Association and Senior Officer's Association, "which are expected to have a significant impact on the budget."
"Regardless, the OPS will continue to try optimally allocate resources and effectively engage community partners reduce service demands while improving service delivery," said Sloly.
Ottawa City Council approved the 2022 budget directions in July, which included a three per cent increase in the police levy next year.
Councillors Shawn Menard and Catherine McKenney introduced a motion calling for a zero per cent increase in the police levy.