Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan says he has to explore every policing option to make sure his municipality isn’t spending too much money.
McGugan is one of many rural Ontario mayors concerned about the changes coming to the way the OPP bills them for their services. The OPP plans to charge every municipality a flat rate and then a rate per call. It’s expected to save money for municipalities who pay more than $500 per household for policing.
In Brooke-Alvinston, McGugan says the municipality pays about $600 per house, so there is a chance the new funding model will save money. But he says this year the rising costs for policing isn’t about changing the way people pay, it’s about increasing OPP salaries. This year alone Brooke-Alvinston’s policing costs are going up $48,000.
So when McGugan recently saw the CAO of Chatham-Kent, he had a brief chat with him about whether Chatham-Kent Police would consider policing his area. The pair had a telephone conversation recently and what the CAO said was enough for McGugan to ask for a meeting with Chatham-Kent Police, Brooke-Alvinston, Dawn-Euphemia and Enniskillen Townships.
“He thought their policing costs was about $29 million for the whole community. I figure ours, with the City of Sarnia’s, is about $32 million,” says McGugan.
McGugan figures that could mean the cost per household would drop to about $500 – a possible $125,000 saving.
“We don’t have anything signed and we don’t have any infrastructure but they’re only one kilometer from us, it’s an option we need to take a look at,” says McGugan. “We have to take a look at every option…There is no competition for the OPP so we have to take a look at it… I know $125,000 is a lot of money but is it enough to make the move?
“I think we need to have all the options on the table…We need every penny we can get.”
Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott says he will attend the meeting, but he’s not sure anything will come of it saying it may be a “long shot.
“I’ll sit in and listen.”