Councillors support letters against OPP funding formula
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | January 23, 2014
Minden Hills council plans on pushing back against the proposed OPP funding formula, which would double policing costs for the municipality in 2015.
During a Jan. 16 committee-of-the-whole council meeting, Reeve Barb Reid requested that council support resolutions from the Township of Sequin, Township of Champlain, Town of Fort Frances and the Municipality of Mississippi Mills that request the province step in and abolish the model.
"It's been discussed by county council and we are collectively getting our ducks in a row, seeking a delegation with Minister [Madeleine] Meilleur to express our concern about the impact the proposed changes will have on each of the four lower tiers in the county," said Reid, who is a member of county council. "We also all agreed that we should be supporting these resolutions as they come through so that we can provide evidence that we have been taking an active interest in this."
In Minden Hills, the current cost for policing services amounts to $179 per household. With the new formula, which is comprised of two components – a base service level and calls for service – that amount will soar to approximately $369 per household, or a $1.1. million increase.
While many rural communities are being negatively affected by the model, some larger towns and cities are expected to see a decrease in their bill.
Deputy-Reeve Cheryl Murdoch said she recently attended a Community Policing Advisory Committee (CPAC) meeting where concerns about the funding formula were raised.
"It was brought up at the CPAC meeting with the police services and we expressed… our opinion," said Murdoch.
"There were representatives there from all the municipalities… [who said] that we have great concerns."
According to Murdoch, local OPP representatives said there would be meetings going on at the higher level about this.
"That's good to hear," said Reid. “That's essentially what [Haliburton Highlands Staff] Sgt. [Chad] Bark told me yesterday. They're very concerned as well about the impact this proposed funding model has on Haliburton County. It's kind of unfolding as we speak."
Councillor Ken Redpath spoke in favour of opposing the new formula.
"I think it's very important we push back as hard as we possibly can on this," said Redpath. "If this goes through as it's being proposed, we're looking at in excess of $1 million being added to our budget. It's going to be a 20 per cent increase in our tax budget. It would be devastating to the municipality."
Council will decide on the resolution at their next regular meeting.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander and somehow also finds time to volunteer all over the place. You might have heard him on Go With the Flow with Mark and Mo on Canoe Radio (he’s Mark, obviously), and you might have seen him at the local bowling lanes working up a sweat. Mark probably understands technology more than most of us at The Highlander, so be sure to follow him on Twitter for news updates and thoughts as he’s out and about.