Thank you to the OPP for coming to Orangeville Town Council to explain how the billing model works after the initial transition contract. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that this explanation answered a lot of questions that I had about the inner workings of the cost recovery – especially is years 4 and beyond.
After the presentation by the OPP representative, there was still question from some council members on how it all breaks down…so I will try to explain it as simply as possible.
The cost to run OPP for the year is approximately $1.1 Billion. Of that $1.1 Billion, $400 Million is the cost of municipal policing, while the other $600 Million is monies used for provincial policing and as such is paid for by the provincial government. Of the $400 Million for municipal policing, a portion of it is recovered by base service (Every municipality policed by the OPP in 2017 has a base service cost of $191.84 per household). The rest of the $400 Million (roughly $150 Million), is recovered by cost for service calls. To make this part make sense, I am going to use made up numbers to keep them easy. If your municipality accounted for 10% of all of the calls that the OPP receives for municipal policing, your municipality would be responsible to pay 10% of that $150 Million. On the flip side, if your municipality accounted for 0.5% of all of the calls for service, your municipality would only be responsible for 0.5% of that $150 Million – Make sense?
The other thing that was explained by the OPP is that the way they determine your percentage of calls for service is by averaging out your last 4 years of service history. Because we don’t have history, the ‘occurrences’ that were reported by OPS through a different program would be used for our costs.
The OPP also provided the Town of Orangeville with the tool needed to determine the costs more accurately in year 4 and it was determined that the initial numbers reported by the treasurer in April, were extremely accurate and that the cost savings by switching to the OPP would be over $4 Million per year. Councillor Wilson noted that now the concerns of costs can finally be put to rest.
Questions from the Residents
A number of questions from the gallery were permitted during question period following the presentations from OPP, OPS & CAO Ed Brennan. From the questions asked, it was very clear to me that this issue has divided the community. One resident, Sandy Eastman, passionately spoke up in support of OPS to say “You (council) work for us. You have to listen to what the people of Orangeville want.” Ms. Eastman went on to say “I don’t believe that our taxes are going to go down half. When you say $4.5 million (in savings), are my house taxes going to go down half? They are probably going to remain the same and if they remain the same, I’d like you to vote and keep what we have because the taxpayer is not going to have any savings.” Another resident, Chris Thompson, spoke up in favour of moving to OPP “I can’t remember an opportunity for such a tax savings in as long as I have been following the municipal politics here. The opportunity is here now. Please seize it.” Another resident asked council to consider a referendum either now or as part of the election in 2018 to make the decision rather than simply allowing the 7 members of council to have the final say. If a referendum was held at the same time as the municipal election, the cost would be minimal according to the Town Clerk. The suggestion of a referendum was met with concern from several councillors including Councillor Bradley who said “When we do have an election, we are lucky to get 35% of the people out – it’s usually less than that. So even if we do have a referendum, it would be a very small voice in the community. I’m not sure it would be representative of the entire community anyway. That’s just the reality.” Following that, I did see a very interesting reply to Councillor Bradley’s remark on Facebook that I felt I needed to share!
What is your thought on holding this issue off until the next election? Should this be in the hands of Council or in the hands of the people?
A question of politics
I can’t even put into words how disheartening it was to watch this council meeting. I can’t reiterate enough what a HUGE decision this is for the Town of Orangeville. I would even be so bold to say this is the biggest decision that I have ever seen an Orangeville Council be required to make. This decision shouldn’t be one with political motives attached. This is a decision that requires each member of council to carefully analyze all of the data: Both financial AND the service levels and make a decision that they feel is best for Orangeville. My concern is the lack of respect and understanding and what appears to be a lack of willingness to listen to and digest the data that both sides have to offer. There are definitely benefits and downfalls to both sides and regardless of where your opinion lies, there is a need to respect and embrace the opinions of others. I cannot grasp why this is such a hard concept for our current Town Council to understand. The utter disrespect that was shown to the representative from the OPP on Monday night by implying that she was simply providing “hypothetical numbers” and scoffing out loud at some of her responses was utterly embarrassing. You represent the 30,000 people that live in this Town and that is not a professional representation of our community. The level of disrespect that is consistently shown amongst members of council and now even to Town Staff has proven to just be “norm” in the last 2 1/2 years and it seems as though it is now perfectly acceptable to have no regard for professional decorum.
If you weren’t able to attend the meeting or to watch it on Rogers, please do – click here for the link – I’d love to hear what you think about the conduct in chambers.
June 12th – Decision Day
It was decided by council at Monday’s meeting that the CAO, Ed Brennan will prepare a report for Council with a recommendation of which police force should be policing Orangeville which he will present to council on Monday, May 29th. Council will then have 2 weeks to review all of the data and the recommendation and they will be voting on Monday, June 12th to decide the fate of policing in Orangeville. If you wish to have your voice heard before “Decision Day”, please send an email to all of your members of Council.
- Mayor Jeremy Williams – email@example.com
- Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councillor Scott Wilson – email@example.com
- Councillor Sylvia Bradley – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councillor Gail Campbell – email@example.com
- Councillor Don Kidd – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Councillor Nick Garisto – email@example.com
- Town Clerk Susan Greatrix – firstname.lastname@example.org
Regardless of which side you are on with this issue…I would love for you to share your thoughts, opinions, frustrations in the comments. Have a healthy (respectful) debate! That’s what democracy is all about! I look forward to hearing your opinions.