Home Announcements 20% OPP Cost Increase In Ramara Leads To 10% Tax Increase
20% OPP Cost Increase In Ramara Leads To 10% Tax Increase

20% OPP Cost Increase In Ramara Leads To 10% Tax Increase

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All we have to do is sit down and open the online news for Simcoe County to read story after story about soaring costs of OPP contract policing and yet Midland seems blindly determined to follow their neighbours into contract policing quagmire…  In this latest article from the Orillia Today, Frank Matys reports that Ramara residents are faced with a staggering 10% tax rate increase in 2016, primarily as the result of a 20% increase in the costs of OPP.

In his article he writes,  “A hike of more than 10 per cent is being attributed to surging policing costs and a need to refill severely depleted reserves.

“We want to try to get back up in the good, so that we can avoid huge increases at a later date, too,” treasurer Carol James told Simcoe.com. “Get all the debt behind us and get back in a really good position.”

OPP costs for the rural municipality are up by more than 20 percent, said James.

“That is a big part of it,” she added. “But we did need to get some money into the reserves also.”

Reserves are built up to ensure money is available for costly purchases including equipment replacement.

“We do have a reserve for policing, also, but (policing costs) went up a lot more than was in there to stabilize it,” James added.

Further placing pressure on the township’s anemic reserves is a remaining debt from the installation of sanitary sewers in Brechin and Lagoon City several years ago.

“That was a huge expense,” James said. “We are still paying back the cost of borrowing.”

The council of the day approved sewers in the hope of attracting new investment and promoting growth.

“It just hasn’t come yet,” James added. “Hopefully, within the next couple of years things will start to pick up a bit.”

A council-approved increase of 10.54 per cent will generate about $650,000 in additional revenue for reserves and result in the owner of a $200,000 home paying $82 in additional taxes.

The coming hike was unwelcome news for resident Laurie Paxton.

“I am not impressed in the least bit,” Paxton told Simcoe.com.

While supporting investments in policing, the area woman said the sharp tax increase comes at a particularly challenging time as residents affected by flooding are hit with repair bills and lost time at work.

“I am not just saying this for myself,” she added. “I’m sure a lot of other homeowners will feel the same or agree.”

According to James, Ramara Township’s tax rates have remained “fairly low on the scale” when compared with municipalities such as the City of Kawartha Lakes and Brock Township.

“That won’t be that way this year,” she added. “Even the City of Kawartha Lakes went up 12 per cent.”

James joined the township about a month ago and assisted council with prioritizing the budget.

“I think that they were hoping that it was a little bit better than it was,” she added. “I’m not sure it was a surprise.”

You can read the story here: http://www.simcoe.com/news-story/6482176-stiff-tax-hike-in-ramara/

Tonight is the first publicly accessible meeting of the OPP Costing Adhoc Committee at town council chambers, 6PM.  On the agenda are presentations from the OPP about the costing process as well as a staff report on the process.

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Comment(21)

  1. Pay attention Midland Council, this is for real! It can happen to us too and we will just have to pay, pay, pay..

  2. It his has been happening ever since communities gave up their local policing and contracted to the OPP. Increased cost fewer services and the connection in the community to their local police officers GONE. Not a goo idea Cody Oschefski and Midland Council. The local connection our police is very important to the health of a community.

  3. If it increases costs or provides marginal savings, forget about it. I think the officers need to be from the community they serve, sounds like OPP won’t deliver that. Officers who grow up here understand the way of Midland, know the players, and are better able to deliver law and order according to community standards and not laws designed for Toronto standards.

    1. I attended the meeting; there are many unknowns and a process that is worrisome both in terms of level of service and cost. They use a “base cost” for assessment based on the umber of properties in the municipality. But then there are charges added depending on the number of calls.. If we want foot patrols downtown, they will provide – for a fee! Who will go to the schools to talk to the students? Sadly, nobody.
      We will be losing community policing, the level of service will be reduced, and we will pay more for policing because of the OPP fee structure.
      I say we keep what we have!

    2. I agree keep what we have because you have good policing you know the costs, you have local police in the schools and they get to know the community at large. OPP are just going to be on add on after another. Ask the northern communities how it’s working for them.

    3. after all of this council still wants to call in an 75000 consulting firm ????Its a nice try its not working keep our police and move on don’t spent more money on this you know what you got you don’t know what you get $$$

    4. Marinda Adrinam you are so right and I agree why throw good money away on something everybody else has figured out. OPP costs too much for too little. Everything will be an add on at whatever rate they want to charge down the road.

    5. $75,000 for the consultant and then some more for an Actuary to sort out the pension component of the officers we have and how much it would cost to transition to OPP!

  4. Is it possible that the OPP will low ball (loss leader if you will) the initial cost projections? Midland divests itself of the elements required to police itself (patrol cars, personnel etc). After the first three year contract period the OPP revisit the costing model knowing full well that they are now the only game in town …. as with any monopoly the OPP can charge whatever they want.

    1. This question was asked by mayor McKay but the answer was very vague which would lead me to think this is a possibilty..

    2. Also, we know this has happened in other municipalities. The other unknown is whether Infrastructure Ontario will come in -after the 3 years – assess the the police station and ask that Midland construct a new station to meet their specs.

  5. Tony M. Borysek that is exactly what has happened all over Ontario. Once the community divests itself of its police force then what three years down the road?

  6. Lucky that we have other jurisdictions to observe and learn from ……. We are capable of learning right?

    1. Yes, they got this commitment from Queens Park that they will be the highest paid police force anywhere…

  7. So why would we consider them if their mandate is to be highest paid rather than the best force for the money.

  8. Well, Tony M. Borysek, that’s an excellent question to ask each and every member of Council.
    I never agreed with the suggestion we should look elsewhere for policing because I know we are getting good value from MPS. All you need to do is look around and you will get this confirmed!

  9. So by law any alternative to OPP will have lower salary + benefits. Normally, isn’t salary + benefits the biggest budget line?

  10. Is it possible that the recent town budgets have shortchanged the police equipment updating in anticipation of moving to OPP?

  11. I haven’t heard this mentioned; this question is for a Police Services board member – I would ask Judy Contin.

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20% OPP Cost Increase In Ramara Leads To 10% Tax Increase

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