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OPP Contract Policing Costs – Double Dipping?

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:53 pm
by Thomas
It seems it is worth repeating, when OPP took over policing in Parry Sound, Collingwood and Orillia, each municipality ended up paying for new detachment offices with all their bells and whistles.

Going OPP would require Midland replacing all vehicles to meet OPP standards, same with weapons, uniforms, radios, et al. All uniformed police would have to be retrained, after a year on duty here, police could expect to be moved anywhere in the province one at a time. However friends, the biggest costs is usually buried in a contract: cost recoverable.

If the Marine unit is called in, K-9, Tactical, Ident, etc……HQ won’t cover the costs, the Town of Midland will be invoiced for those extra duties and officers. One murder or another natural disaster in town could set the town back hundreds of thousands or even millions in investigation costs, prisoner transfers, court and trial times.

Those OPP services are NOT billed to the municipality now as they are obliged to provide them upon request – already paid in advance from our Provincial tax levy.

So are communities in contracts with the OPP actually being double billed – paying for services that communities without OPP police contracts don’t get invoiced for?

Decades ago when Chief Larry Hembruff and Police Services Board suggested Midland and Penetanguishene forces twin, so as to save both town tax dollars, the idea was rejected since it was thought Midland police wanted to empire build. That was sheer nonsense. By the way should Midland eventually go OPP and years later want to opt out, OPP will require a one year notice. By then there likely will be a newly used police station. But more than that the town will have to buy replacement cruisers, weapons, uniforms, radios… know the drill. Council is kidding itself if it thinks going OPP will be a money saver, same with thinking an all volunteer fire department will solve Midland’s money problems when it comes to public safety.

Once again, this is not about the fine men and women working tirelessly for the OPP, it is about the “business side” of policing and a contract for policing with the Province of Ontario and we have all seen just how well the Province is doing at controlling costs and remaining accountable. ... 2016-03-14

Surprise! New Extra Costs In Revised OPP Billing Model

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:55 pm
by Thomas
Midland doesn’t have wind farms but in a surprise cost increase, contracted policing jumped $26,000 without warning or consultation in another rural municipality. What assurances do OPP-policed municipalities have that the new funding formula is not going be as dynamic and as full of surprises as the old model? None it seems.

We can simply look to our neighbours in Penetanguishene to see that their costs increased before the ink had dried on their contract, or Tiny Township, who was hit with a 40% ($500k) cost increase overnight for 2016.

The complaints are not with the quality of service or the level of service by the OPP, but instead are aimed at the costing model and the way it has been and seemingly is still being applied to small & mid-sized communities who have opted to discard local policing in favour of contract policing – where all control of costs are beyond local scrutiny or negotiation.

Penetanguishene’s Mayor Gerry Marshall was quoted as saying “One of the challenges of the relationship with the OPP is the fact that you’re not negotiating with the OPP – They present you with a number, and then they present the ministry’s contract, but the OPP have no autonomy to change that contract or specialize it. You are really just having a presentation of facts delivered to you. I have issues with that because there are elements of the contract that don’t speak to the spirit of the relationship.”

In a report from the Sarnia Observer, Barbara Simpson reports:

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey is still searching for answers over a recent move by the Ontario Provincial Police to start charging Ontario municipalities for policing wind turbines.

Bailey raised his concerns over the move’s financial impact to rural municipalities during question period in Queen’s Park last week.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa responded to Bailey’s inquiry, pointing out the province has increased funding for rural municipalities. However, he didn’t address the new OPP billing formula in detail.

“I couldn’t get a straight answer,” Bailey said Friday.

Bailey said he has since spoken with Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi, who is prepared to answer his questions.

Politicians in Frontenac Islands, near Kingston, first raised the red flag over the little-known change after they saw close to a $26,000 increase in the township’s recent OPP bill. They later discovered they had been charged policing costs for wind turbines on Wolfe Island.

Several rural Lambton municipal leaders have now been investigating what impact the change is having – if any – on their own communities’ policing budgets.

Under the new OPP billing model, Ontario municipalities are being charged a base service cost per wind turbine property if that property is already taxed as commercial or industrial, The Observer confirmed last month.

Service call charges – the second component of the new OPP billing model – are only being applied if the police have to respond to wind turbine properties for service, according to the OPP’s corporate communications bureau.

Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has been reviewing the inclusion of wind turbines in the property count being used in the new OPP billing model.

Last week, OPP Sgt. Peter Leon confirmed that review is still ongoing.

Bailey continues to encourage OPP-patrolled municipalities to ensure any of their new wind farm contracts generates enough revenue to cover policing costs.

“My warning for any municipality who was thinking about getting into (wind farm contracts) – willing or not – is to make sure you have an escalator clause that you can recover these costs from these wind turbine companies,” he said.

On Thursday, Sarnia-Lambton was handed a reprieve from new wind turbine projects by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator.

The provincial agency announced contracts for five new wind projects, but none of those projects are planned for Sarnia-Lambton.

“I breathed a sigh of relief for that,” Bailey said.

Dutton-Dunwich, south of London, and Chatham-Kent, however, picked up three of the five wind farm contracts.

While the Municipality of Chatham-Kent has long been a willing host to wind energy projects, Dutton-Dunwich residents overwhelmingly voted against turbines in a referendum.

Municipal politicians there were shocked by the news Thursday after the Ontario government brought in a new public consultation process for wind farm proposals to address concerns over lack of municipal input.

“When they say they have this new process, the proof is in the pudding,” Bailey said. “They’re still foisting these on people.” ... 2016-03-14