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WRPS may end up saving $3 million by the end of year, police board report says

The forecasted variance will depend on the number of vacant positions by the end of the year
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A report part of the Waterloo Regional Police Services board agenda indicates that salaries and wages are $6.4 million under budget so far this year, primarily due to savings seen in full-time salaries as a result of attrition and parental leaves.

A year-to-date report part of an upcoming police services board agenda meeting shows that Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) could see a positive budget variance of $ 3 million in 2021.

To date they are $8 million under budget on the operations side, but that is expected to shrink in the remaining months.

The main savings have been in salaries and benefits as a result of lower-than-budgeted staffing levels.

The report details the amount for both the budgeted and actual operating costs and revenues. 

So far this year, the WRPS has spent a close to $95 million, which is $8 million less than the budgeted amount of approximately $103 million.

On the other hand, budgeted revenues were $10.7 million, of which $10.6 have been earned so far.

The report also goes over detailed expenses, including areas where savings were incurred. 

The major cut comes from staffing costs. For 2021, the service was authorized a head count of 786 sworn officers, of which 784 were actually hired. Similarly, the WRPS had budgeted for 375 civilian employees, of which 358 were actually hired. With an overall decrease in staffing, salaries and wages have been at $6.4 million under budget so far this year. This is primarily due to savings in full-time salaries as a result of attrition and maternity/paternity leaves.

In addition, the report says, some collective agreements expired in 2019, resulting in no actual salary increase on the 2021 budget as compared to the amount budgeted. 

Further in staffing, paid overtime amount is $209,000 under budget and has been reduced from 2020 levels by approximately 14 per cent or 4,969 hours.

Among other reasons the report outlines, other allowance and benefits were also below budget by $1.2 million. This is primarily due to lower to-date eligible retired member’s lump sum payments or salary continuance sick leave payments and lower than planned training expenses.

A decrease of $218,000 in materials and supplies costs is also adding to the savings, the report says. Further savings of $301,000 were seen due to a decrease in court services, wellness program, and prisoner meal expenses.

However, the services were $486K over budget as a result of the timing of prepaid software agreements offset by lower consultant and legal expenses to date. 

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