Dawn-Euphemia is getting anxious about the cost of policing; and they’re not alone.
Recently, Ontario’s Auditor General told the OPP it needed a funding model which was clearer and more transparent. The OPP has now finished their work and is inviting municipalities to find out how it will work Nov. 15 in London.
Dawn-Euphemia Deputy Mayor Leslie Williams plans to attend and says she’s worried about what is coming. Before the November meeting, Dawn-Euphemia has invited local OPP representatives to talk to them about the cost of policing.
Dawn Euphemia’s OPP bill started at $229,400 in 1998, says Williams. But even with the population declining, the cost has risen dramatically to an estimated $410,140 this year.
“This is a very, very serious concern,” says Williams noting the cost will continue to climb since the OPP Association has already negotiated an eight percent pay increase for its members in 2014.
“This is just crippling municipalities,” says Williams. “Theses costs put the long-term sustainability of the municipality in question.”
The rising cost of policing comes at a time the province is reducing its funding to municipalities. Williams says small municipalities, like Dawn-Euphemia, have depended on the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund. But the province is trimming $500 million off the grants this year. So far, Dawn-Euphemia has lost $187,000 in provincial funding. It expects to lose at least $33,000 more a year for the next three years.
Officials from Petrolia will also be attending the meeting. Town CAO Manny Baron says policing costs have risen from $764,370 in 2010 to an anticipated $881,431 this year.
And even then, Petrolia is doing well. Baron says Petrolia pays $150 per person for policing while the provincial average is $324 per person. “It (the contract cost) is high, but it is the service we need,” he says.
Plympton-Wyoming is also facing climbing bills from the OPP; in 2010 the cost was $1,034,286 and this year it is expected to be about $1,166,282.