Town to get long-awaited cost of policing by OPP

December 9, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Although it has been nearly a year since
the request was submitted, Orangeville Council will move forward with receiving an OPP costing report for their services.

During Monday night’s Council meeting, Town CAO Ed Brennan provided a requested update on the process, explaining that the OPP were waiting on confirmation from Council that they still wanted costing. Until direction was provided, the OPP costing for Orangeville would be withheld.

Councillor Scott Wilson immediately introduced a motion to move forward with the costing, which was seconded by Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock. However, Mayor Jeremy Williams expressed his disappointment that it had taken so long.

“We asked for this a year ago, and just now they send us a note wondering if we still want a price,” said Mayor Williams. “It gives me pause for thought that they didn’t provide it when we asked, and then have to confirm that we still want it.”

He was torn on the issue, based on the fact that Orangeville Police have been improving their service, but agreed that the residents of Orangeville were owed the costing.

“Chief Kalinski is doing an admirable job, and the cost has come down substan- tially,” said Mayor Williams. “The whole environment of the Orangeville Police Service (OPS) has changed and we are work- ing together as a team. I have a hesitancy in supporting this simply because it’s as if we’re asking [OPS] to do a good job, they’ve done a good job, but we’re telling them we’re still going to go look for a better price.”

The Mayor added that he is confident Orangeville Police, not the OPP, were the right path to follow.

“I think we’ve turned a corner and we have improved, but we still owe it to the people to get the numbers and make sure they are comparing lemons to
lemons,” he said. “We need to find out the base costs as well as the add-ons. I get calls all the time from other municipalities who have taken on the OPP and are paying all sorts of extra fees, and have less officers covering the area.”

He said his biggest fear is that the OPP will not be able to provide the same quality of service at a reasonable price. In concluding his comments, he said that while he will support the motion to receive the costing, he wants to send a strong message that he is very pleased with the direction of the Orangeville Police, and the direction of the service.

The OPP costing for both overall service and 911 services is something Councillor Scott Wilson has been vocal about pursuing. Both in last year’s election, and throughout Council for the year, he has been adamant that the costing is necessary.

“I think it’s slightly unfair to suggest that the OPP have been dragging their feet on this,” Councillor Wilson said in response to the Mayor’s concerns. “The Province imposed a moratorium on the OPP to provide better costing to suit their realities.”

He went on to explain that just as Mayor Williams has had experiences with comments from other municipalities, he has had his own experience as CAO of Wellington County, where the OPP now serves residents outside Guelph from a detachment based in Fergus.

“The OPP service is exemplary, and the costs for the municipality have gone down considerably,” he said. “I can give great confidence in how they have been employed, and have no complaints with the OPP.”

Thoughts were varied on the rest of Council, although most agreed that while they weren’t particularly interested in moving forward with the OPP, they felt getting the costing would be appropriate.

“Everyone I have talked to in town are more than happy with the service they are getting from the Orangeville Police and Chief Kalinski,” said Councillor Don Kidd. “It’s a good idea to get the OPP costing, but we have to be very careful when we are looking at the costing that we do not com- pare apples to oranges. Once we dump the local service, they will not be coming back. If there’s any problems or complaints that’s too bad, that’s what we’ve got.”

The only member of Council in complete opposition to the costing was Coun- cillor Gail Campbell, who did not support the costing research when the subject was raised during a previous Council.

“I was on the council that did do the OPP costing the last time, and for reasons of both service and cost, we chose not to do it at that time,” she said. “I am not going to support this. We usually have RFP’s at the end of a contract, or if something is going wrong. We have a new chief who is working extremely hard to make sure that the community knows we have a community-minded service. I believe OPS offers excellent service to our community, and I don’t think we need OPP costing – we have a great service.”

The discussion concluded with a vote on the motion by Councillor Wilson, and all but Councillor Campbell voted in favour of receiving the costing. Despite voting in favour of the costing, the Mayor made it clear he feels it would not bring about any change.

“I really doubt the OPP can provide anything I will be supportive of,” he said.

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