MANITOULIN—Some Manitoulin municipalities are waiting with bated breath as the new Ontario police costing figures will be revealed in the next few days.
“They’ve changed things up again, so while originally the costs were to be on households through MPAC, now the per unit costs will be based by individual propertys,” said Ken Noland, reeve of Burpee-Mills Township, when contacted by the Recorder late last week. “This mean’s for example, apartment buildings with 30 units will be included.”
“The OPP has been holding been holding meetings on this issue across Ontario and I attended a meeting on September 3 in Sudbury,” said Wayne Bailey, a Burpee-Mills Township councillor. “It was an interesting and quite informative meeting.”
“The new costing formula is a done deal and one thing that came out of it (the regional meeting) is the amount of the OPP budget, which is over $900 plus million dollars,” said Mr. Bailey. “Of that, Ontario municipalities provide 37 percent or about $363 million dollars for OPP policing in municipalities. The province pays over $600 million in policing provided on provincial highways and unorganized townships.”
“At the meeting I questioned the change in the new model (which takes effect January 1) from 75 percent and 25 percent for base policing costs and calls for service, to 60 percent and 40 percent,” said Mr. Bailey. “Now they will be billing all properties in municipalities and this now includes apartments, stores and commercial buildings.”
“The exemptions are farmland, vacant lands, unorganized municipalities and forest lands,” said Mr. Bailey. “The time standards spent on occurrences are going to change, for instance if there is a drug call investigation in your municipality the average time for an investigation could increase, as well as the costs a municipality has to pay.”
“There were some concerns raised at the meeting, for instance I’m concerned that the RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) program is now part of the base cost paid by municipalities,” continued Mr. Bailey. “This used to be provincial, now it’s part of the base cost and in my view this is a bit of a download from the province.” He also wondered if routine patrols will be added to the base cost for policing too?
Mr. Bailey said the new policing model will be phased in with the first year seeing an increase of $18 per property, $39 in the second year, $51 per property in year three and $81 per property in the fourth year.
“In Burpee-Mills we will definitely pay more in police costs with this new policing cost formula,” said Mr. Bailey. “I question why we need the most expensive police services in terms of cost for our municipalities. And it is my feeling if we as municipalities pay one-third of the $900 million plus costs for OPP costs, municipalities should have at least one representative in the collective agreement negotiations between the province and the police unions. Right now the negotiations are made by the province and we as municipalities just pay the bill, which is unfair.”
“The actual policing model costs will be coming out September 15,” added Mr. Bailey.