High Ontario policing costs upset McNab-Braeside council

Obscenely high and unsustainable policing costs. OPP bills are destroying communities its officers are supposed to protect. Apparent self-interest is cloaked in the guise of public safety needs. Where is the political outrage while OPP costs continue to climb? Who is going to bring policing costs in this province under control?

High Ontario policing costs upset McNab-Braeside council

Postby Thomas » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:21 pm

Rural municipalities continue to push for lower policing costs

OPP costs should be brought into line with other policing costs in Canada.

That’s the contention of McNab-Braeside councillors, who expressed support for efforts by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Rural Mayors’ Forum of Eastern Ontario to get the costs under control.

Deputy Mayor Brian Armsden questioned why Ontario municipalities pay the highest policing costs in Canada and why the burden is being shifted onto smaller municipalities from the towns and cities.

Coun. Mark MacKenzie said the economies of scale should mean lesser police costs in more populous provinces such as Ontario. So it’s puzzling it is the opposite with Ontario paying 20 per cent more, he added.

He said municipalities should strongly support AMO’s suggestion that Ontario’s policing costs be brought down to the national average in five years. “It’s a reasonable goal,” he said. “We need to look at ways to tighten up.”

MacKenzie also said that municipalities should have stronger representation on police service boards. There should be more discussion on what calls for service should be responded to by police officers, he suggested.

For instance some mental health calls might better be attended to by health care professionals, he said. Also, there are other ways, such as special constables perhaps, to handle some lower level functions, including traffic control for community events, he added.

The recommendations are in an AMO report entitled ‘Municipal Guide to Police Service Act Consultations – Building a New Public Safety Model in Ontario’, which was very well done, said MacKenzie.

Later in the meeting, council passed a motion of support for the Township of Minden Hills’ efforts to have the provincial Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services review and reconsider the new OPP billing model that has boosted policing costs dramatically for most rural municipalities. Minden Hills is also asking for the province to review policing expenditures to find ways to reduce the cost per household and to take on a larger portion of the overall OPP budget.

The township notes its policing costs have risen by about $650,000 in the past two years, translating into a 6.24 per cent increase in the municipal property tax levy this year alone.

“It’s in line with what we’re looking to do as well,” said Armsden in moving support of the motion.

“I strongly support this one,” added Mayor Tom Peckett.

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