Future OPP contract models, cost still a mystery to
What's certain is the OPP have put moratoriums on contract renewals and
triggered the notice provisions to cancel current deals in place with
communities across the province including the Nottawasaga detachment,
so the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services can
introduce a new billing model for provincial policing in 2015.
How that will look, its impact on costs, and services provided, remain
unknown and municipalities policed by the OPP, including the tri-party
partners - New Tecumseth, Essa, Adjala-Tosorontio - are writing each
other seeking support to build a united front, and also expressing
concerns with the Ministry about speculated cost spikes.
In 2014, the OPP contract will cost New Tecumseth $5.65 million, which makes up 23 per cent of the total tax levy of just under $25 million.
For the first time since the mayors were summoned to OPP headquarters
in Orillia last fall to learn of the pending new model, the topic was
addressed by New Tecumseth councillors, sparked by widely circulated
motions from Ontario towns expressing concerns their policing costs
will increase particularly if contracts are priced using per household
Mayor Mike MacEachern, who chairs the Nottawasaga Police Services
Board, told councillors Monday night that because the OPP and Ministry
have not released any details of the models, it was a moot point to
take any positions on the subject.
"I can inform council that we've tried to get detailed costing, and at
least an assessment on where we would range in regards to the cost of
policing. and to this point, we have not been successful in getting
information from the province, so it's hard to speculate," said mayor
MacEachern. "At this time it's difficult to pinpoint
an actual number based on the fact they continue to say we're going
through a consultation process and we haven't arrived at our final
Ward 3 councillor Paul Whiteside said the figure he was told from the
finance department was policing cost $541 per household in New
Tecumseth in 2013. Early indications about the model is there could be
a base level whereby a municipality above it would pay less in the new
arrangement, and those below it would see an increase.
"As I understand it in talking to (Nottawasaga OPP) detachment
commander (Dirk) Cockburn, it's
going to be like a shopping list for every occurrence that they have
that will be like checking through your groceries at the till,
and that'll be your bill," said Mr. Whiteside. "And you would think it
would be possible with
today's technology to take our occurrences for a 12 month period and
cost that. Can we exert any pressure to try and get them to do that?"
Mr. MacEachern said letters were sent to the Province "early in the
process" asking for costing information.
"They haven't completed
consultations so we don't know what the price is going to be," he said.
very difficult to have a discussion about whether we agree or don't
agree with the pricing model if they haven't arrived at what the
pricing model is and it's hard to have a discussion about what position
we want to take unless we know exactly what the impact is going to be
Mr. Whiteside said his concern was that the OPP "comprises a large
portion of our levy" and couldn't understand why with "today's
technology" the Province couldn't have come up with figures based on
actual occurrance rates.
generally what the model is they want to move towards," said the mayor.
smaller municipalities are concerned they'll have to pay the actual
cost of policing. All those towns that have been paying a higher cost
will want to make sure it's fair and equitable across the board."
The other impact of the contract changes involve the end of the
tri-party agreement, which would have to be renegotiated under the new
terms, that is if the new model will even require it.
"We've discussed, and we'll discuss here whether or not, once they
arrive at exactly the model they're going to present to us, what the
benefits would be to us," said the mayor about renewing the tri-party
agreement. "I would anticipate from the information I've
seen, is (OPP) will be coming to us in the summertime to try and
negotiate the next agreement. So there's going to be sometime that's
going to be taken by us to evaluate as a council and our staff to
evaluate what's the best way forward. It's difficult to bring the item
other than there's been some discussion. .... I'm
surprised so many are taking a position already without understanding
what the model is."