At this past Monday’s council meeting the long-awaited analysis from the consultant was on the agenda and delivered to council. The math is astounding. The CAO and the consultant’s calculations show that Midland could save $8 million dollars over 10 years by switching to the OPP. Incredible news, if it were actually based on fact.
Before we dig into the problems (several million of them) immediately evident upon a quick review, let’s address what so many others, arguably far more independent than us, have already discovered in the past week.
We routinely hang out on social media to get the opinions of local town’s folk who use Facebook and Twitter and to find information for our articles. One of our many favourite hangouts is a Facebook group by John Todd called Huronia’s Past and Present. (the group is easy to join and is full of great history of our community). From time to time, the topics turn to politics and we find John’s take on things to be quite accurate and unbiased – even though we may, on occasion disagree with him. It is no secret that we are ardent supporters of our local services, with the Midland Police and Midland Fire both being gold standards (in our opinion). John’s take on the OPP consultant’s report and the CAO’s report seems to mirror ours and goes even further. To be blunt, the town seems to be trying to deceive us about the true costs and savings (or lack thereof) by switching to the OPP. For the benefit of our readers who don’t hang out on Facebook, we will share John’s analysis which seems to be a work in progress as he sifts through the document and crunches the numbers.
From Facebook – Huronia’s Past & Present
I must be missing something. I keep looking at Table 4 which is entitled “Midland Police Service Expected Operating Costs 2018-2027” yet in year 1 there is a $2,129,232 exit cost for all staff when the Town of Midland transit to OPP. In that case, the MPS would not exist from 2019-2027, would it?
If Midland transits to OPP in 2018, the one-time exit cost should be added to their cost in Table 5 bringing their 2018 cost up to $8,231,660.
What is the actual operating cost of the MPS in 2017? What is the projected cost of the MPS over the next ten years if the decision is made to stay with the MPS? According to the MPS website, the MPS 2017 budget was estimated at $4,924,000 (down 2.9% from 2016).
Using the OPP base costs (without considering the extra costs for “calls for service”, overtime, court security and prisoner transportation, a Community Service officer and foot patrols) in Table 5 for 2018-2020 and including the one-time startup costs and one-time exit costs for the MPS staff, the average cost for the OPP each year in 2018-2020 would be $5,653,742 per year.
If the MPS cost stayed relatively stable over the next three years, the MPS would be cheaper in those first three years by over $2 million. The OPP never offers numbers for year 4 and beyond because, I suspect, the numbers would be even higher than the first three years. Would we really save money going with the OPP?
Another local Facebook user says “I don’t understand it either. Why would there be a 2 million plus exit cost to MPS in 2018 if they aren’t shutting down? Am I missing something? And if this is an oversight or miscalculation then its a big one and makes this whole report suspect.”
The OPP Costing Analysis – The Financial Bottom Line
In the recent OPP costing analysis, the cost of the OPP does not include many features we already have with our police services, such as a Community Service officer and foot patrols. If Midland went with the OPP, adding a Community Service officer and foot patrols would cost around $250,000 per year ($2.5 million over 10 years).
The Midland Police Service, at no additional cost, also have OPP resources, such as helicopter, K-9, Dive Unit, and Major Case Management since the services are already funded by our provincial taxes.
While the OPP would likely start working from the existing MPS headquarters, it is very likely that, in a few years, they would want their own building built at Midland’s expense. How much would that new headquarters cost?
Let’s review the cost of the two services just over the next three years since the OPP cannot guarantee any pricing past the third year.
According to Table 4 of the OPP Costing Analysis, the Midland Police Service will cost $4,716,078 (2018); $5,021,246 (2019); and $5,021,246 (2020) for a total of $14,758,570 or $4,919,523 per year.
According to Table 5 of the OPP Costing Analysis, the OPP, including their base costs (without all the extra services now provided by MPS), the one-time startup costs and the one-time exit costs to disband MPS, will cost $4,733,509 (2018); $3,842,274 (2019); $4,897,492 (2020); $1,358,719 (startup); and $2,129,232 (disband MPS) for a total of $16,961,226 or $5,653,742 per year.
Midland, you can have more police services and save at least $2.2 million over the next three years staying with your own police service.
Now to find out the OPP’s response time in Tiny, Tay, and Penetanguishene when there is a call of assistance. Hmmm …. I also want to know how many patrol officers are on each shift over that large patrol area.
I would also like to see the information put on-line ahead of time so that residents can be better informed and ask important questions at the public meeting. We do have some information. What other information can be shared with us ahead of time?
First – The OPP will only give a municipality a transitional 3 year contract reflecting only their base numbers. Beginning in year 4, a new billing model takes effect based on base services and calls for service (plus other services the Town may wish such as a Community Service officer and officers on foot patrols to name two).
With this in mind, i don’t understand how the OPP cost in year 4 drops so drastically.
Second – The MPS cost seems so much higher (red) than the OPP (blue) but if the OPP took over, would they not have about the same number of officers and would they not be working out of the present MPS headquarters. If so, Should the blue bars not be closer or the same as the red bars?
Third: The one time exit cost to disband the Midland Police Service is not included in the graph. Why? It would be a significant and actual cost to us if OPP takes over. So, the Town’s cost for the OPP (blue bar) in 2018, instead of rough $6.1 million should be roughly $8.2 million.
There are many services the MPS already have built into their cost to us and there are many OPP services that our town can access freely since those services are already paid through our provincial taxes.
Looking at the data in Tables 4 and 5 of the report, the cost of the Midland Police Service (with all their services) will save the town at least $2.2 million over the OPP (with their limited services).
Which Police Service Provides the Savings?
Using the numbers from Tables 4 and 5, how would the cost of Midland Police Service over 10 years compare with the OPP when the OPP moved into into the lower level of the municipal building and took over the capital costs. Notice the discrepancy in the capital costs in Tables 4 and 5. Why is the OPP capital cost so low compared to the MPS if they would be moving into the present-day MPD headquarters?
Over the next ten years, either residents pay the capital and operating costs of the MPS as outlined in Table 4 or they pay the exit cost of disbanding the MPS, the one time OPP start-up, and 10 years of OPP base costs and operating costs (again, this does not include the many services now provided by the MPS which would need to be negotiated with the OPP).
The average over the ten years would see the cost of MPS as $4,482,428 per year and the cost of the OPP as $5,114,409 per year.
Based on the two tables, Midland would see a total savings over the ten years of $6,319, 810 by staying with the Midland Police Services.
The entire report by the CAO and the consultant is available below. Have a look at it for yourself. More analysis is underway we will report back as things come into focus.