Northeast Town and Gore Bay the only Manitoulin Island municipalities to see decrease under new OPP billing model

MANITOULIN—The highly anticipated 2015 Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) bill, reflecting the new billing model, has finally been received by Island municipalities, with only Gore Bay and the Northeast Town realizing a reduction in costs.

“Bottom line, our policing costs are down $107,000 (from 2014),” said Northeast Town CAO Dave Williamson at last Thursday’s council meeting. “Our 2014 budgeted police costs were $969,000 and 2015 is being forecasted at $862,540. The reduction is limited to a decrease of $30 per household for 2015 as they phase in the new model, but we will still see a significant decrease.”

Mr. Williamson explained that other municipalities that are seeing an increase will also have the adjustment phased in, having to pay an increase of up to $40 per household for 2015.

“In the past we had a very high cost for calls for service,” added Mayor MacNevin. “Now that calls for service is 40 percent and the other 60 percent is based on a base service cost per household, we have really seen a reduction.”

Gore Bay, which is also seeing a reduction in its policing costs, is paying $269,596 for 2014, dropping to $243,153.

While Gore Bay and the Northeast Town were lucky with the drop in their bills, the rest of the Island municipalities will see an increase in 2015 under the new model.

Tehkummah Township will be jumping from $74,731 in 2014 to $88,986 for 2015.

Cockburn Island, which previously paid zero for policing in 2014 (but $650 in 2013), will see a significant increase, estimated at $19,500 for 2015.

Billings Township will be paying just over $30,000 over last year, from $141,720 up to $171,041 for 2015, phased in over three years to an estimated $505,865.

Burpee and Mills will be jumping from $39,825 in 2014, up to $54,626 for 2015, eventually phasing in to $89,953 in four years.

Assiginack Township will be paying $27,002 more in 2014 over 2015, going from $232,013 up to $259,015.

Gordon-Barrie Island will also be jumping significantly ($27,400), going from $70,781 in 2014 to $98,181 in 2015, eventually phasing over the next few years up to $183,749.

Central Manitoulin will see a large increase over previous years under the new model, going up $71,842 for 2015 (from $350,723 to $422,565). The total amount estimated amount before the phase-in adjustment is $506,065.

For 2015 over 2014, throughout the province 172 municipalities will see an increase greater than $40 per property, while 34 will see a zero to $40 increase. Twenty-three municipalities will have a decrease up to $30, while 95 will see a decrease greater than $30.

“The OPP presently polices 324 municipalities in the province of Ontario,” explained OPP Manitoulin Detachment Staff Sergeant Kevin Webb.

Under the current model, there are 97 occurrence types that account for 100 percent of the cost recovery (municipal OPP bill). Under the present model municipalities that would have a large number of calls would be bearing the majority of the costs of policing. Two years ago, municipalities brought the issue of the OPP billing model to the auditor general, requesting a more simple and fair billing model. As a result of the auditor general’s review and municipal input, the province came up with a more fair and transparent model.”

“With the new billing model (which will take effect on January 1, 2015) 60 percent of the cost of OPP municipal policing is shared among all 324 municipalities in the province,” continued Staff Sergeant Webb. “In this form all properties are included—full-time and seasonal residential units, commercial and industrial buildings—1,103,152 properties throughout the province. When they did the math and looked at how much it will be for each municipality it was $251 per property, 60 percent to provide the OPP services. The other 40 percent of policing costs are calculated on a call-for-service basis. There are now approximately 140 types of calls for services (opposed to the pervious 97).”

When Staff Sergeant Webb received the 2015 bill estimations from the province for each of the Island municipalities recently he personally delivered all of them.

“I have now met with representatives from each of the Island municipalities and I have also met with two councils, presenting the packages and a presentation, followed by questions and answers,” said Staff Sergeant Webb. “They have all been following the process, so they had the ball park figures by the time I sat down with them. They are all currently reviewing the new model and estimated costs and will be forwarding concerns or comments on to provincial reps.”