Watch this short video of my candid discussion with our CFO about how we over-charge our residents for policing and where I think we could lower our taxes significantly. Now, to be fair, this was not his idea and it all predates him joining our corporation. This was the design of a former CAO, CFO and half of this current council who was in power in 2014-2018. There is nothing nefarious about this kind of accounting arrangement but it has delayed the repayment of the 3-4million dollars in expenses to disband the community police in favour of the contract OPP model. The true costs of that decision remain to be fully disclosed but we know it was at least 3.5 million dollars.
I am looking for ways to reduce the 6.2% increase (albeit 4.82 blended). During the budget preamble I asked about the new OPP costs and if we were receiving the 1 million in yearly savings that was the rationale for disbanding the Midland Police Service in early 2018.
With the disbanding costs put into the “future police savings” reserve, that I believe was somewhere around 3 million in the negative now, we have been charging Midland residents more since 2018 for policing than what was actually being billed by the OPP and taking that difference, calling it “savings” and moving it into the reserve to help pay off the costs of disbanding.
At the same time as we have been contributing to this negative reserve, we have also been taking money out and using it by calling it “future police savings” that won’t become savings until we pay off the debt from disbanding and actually start to save money over what the community police would likely have been charging us for.
Furthermore, it was stated that at the rate at which we are putting money in and taking it out simultaneously, that we could expect to break even and start ONLY paying for the true cost of policing, in 2028… a decade after the decision to disband to “save money”. We were told that we’d see 1 million in savings each year and that was the rationale told to and by council to the community to justify the costs of the switch. Since that clearly is not the case, I have a suggestion that could help reduce the 2022 budget.
If you have any cost savings ideas or input, please email [email protected] I will be availing myself of this process in advance of the debates in January. I am not supporting our budget as it stands and find it offensive, especially in the grips of a pandemic. Here is my first of many questions I am putting on the record.
Dear Mr. Jeremy (CFO Midland)
What if we did the following to help ease the taxpayer burden in 2022. You stated that this was the first year that we are putting in twice as much as we are taking back out again from the “Future Police Savings” reserve which is currently in a 3.x million deficit. That seems to be a large sum during a year where we could really use some real savings.
- Dispensed with the whole notion of the “future police savings” reserve and simply assign it as debt, owing from the disbanding of the police service. At some point we all need to know the real cost of the decision, notwithstanding the overcharging for the past 3 years and the money we have taken out (making us deeper in the negative) as “future savings”. The decision to disband has yet to be fully costed and disclosed 3 years later.
- Charge the Midland ratepayer the real cost of the OPP policing in 2022 and simply put a levy on the books to help pay off the disbanding costs (realizing that some are still in play with arbitration and legal awards / costs) This would allow of us to see the real numbers – which won’t be flattering but will be honest and transparent. That levy could be deferred for another year or two until we are in a better financial position. After all, we already spent this disbanding money long ago (other than new costs) and we can simply resume recouping those costs when our spending is under control and market conditions are more favourable.
What would this change do to our budget in 2022? An extra $500,000 you said we would be collecting in this budget and moving into the negative reserve could go a long way.