COVID-19 cuts into Winnipeg police revenues while expenses rise
Photo radar revenue falls as stay-home orders reduce traffic on streets
There are significant holes forming in the Winnipeg Police Service budget as the effects of the COVID-19 health crisis eat into its revenues and increase expenses.
With fewer motorists on the street as people stay home during the pandemic, money coming from photo radar tickets has dropped substantially, according to a report delivered this week to the City of Winnipeg's police board.
The service now says it expects to collect $6.9 million less than originally anticipated in revenue from the fines.
The report shows projections of overall revenue dropping by $7.9 million, while expenses have risen by $5.6 million.
The police service also expects to collect $2 million less than budgeted for handing out tickets the old-fashioned way — by traffic officers on the streets.
An arbitrator's decision to side with the Winnipeg Police Association on changing pensions for officers has affected the police budget as well.
- Arbitrator rules in favour of police officers in pension tussle with City of Winnipeg
- City of Winnipeg will not challenge arbitrator ruling on police pensions: Bowman
The city had hoped to save $6 million in the coming year from changes it made to the pension. In fact, the city had to pay a total of more than $600,000 in damages to the union and each member of the Winnipeg Police Service, after the arbitrator ruled the move breached the union's collective bargaining agreement.
On a call with reporters Tuesday, Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said there was "no indication of any layoffs" coming because of the shortfall, but acknowledged the budget is a concern his management team will have to work on with the police board and city administration.
In the past, Smyth has suggested less money for the police service from city coffers could mean fewer officers on the street.
The report to the police board warns the full extent of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been calculated yet.