OPP Detachment Commander Inspector Jason Younan for the Huron County OPP made an appearance at a Huron East council meeting April 19. “I’m not going to spin you a yarn here for Huron East and tell you cost will go down, it likely will not,” stated Younan.
In a story filed on April 24th 2016 by Shaun Gregory of the Huron Expositor, it is reported that Huron East’s policing bill went up $190,000 in one year alone, forcing the community into a tax increase of 20% of which 6% alone was directly related to the ballooning OPP costs.
After reading this story and the many like it that we have already published or re-published, we find ourselves asking why we are continuing this costing exercise – expecting a different outcome than countless other communities and spending at least $75,000 of our tax dollars on consultants to tell us what we can already figure out by simply reading the news.
The story reads (quoted):
“Representatives from the OPP made an appearance at council last week in Seaforth; their presence was welcomed with many questions. But one inquiry appeared to stick out and hit home the most-policing costs.
Huron East’s treasurer/ finance manager, Paula Michiels prepared a report recently for the budget season. In it she indicated that the overall municipal tax levy went up 20 per cent and about six per cent of the upsurge can be credited to policing expenses. In 2015, the municipality paid the OPP $1,314,510 and now they are looking at $1,505,862, which works out to be a 14.5 per cent modification. These findings caught the municipality’s attention and almost every person labeled as a local politician wanted answers.
“We had our first draft budget, to our surprise, one of the big costs was policing (which) had gone up $190,000 in one year,” explained Tuckersmith Councillor, Ray Chartrand to the OPP officers.
“Can you explain to me how this policing formula has a change that drastic?”
Jason Younan, inspector detachment commander for the Huron County OPP called the rise, the “new billing model.” The additional charges are based upon the total recoveries for the province of 66 other attachments. Last year in Ontario, the recoveries were $394 million and in 2016 went up to $398 million with close to half of that considered calls for service.
“So what Huron East pays is their portion of that total amount for the calls for service,” stated Younan dressed in police attire.
He referred to it as the ‘bricks and mortar’, these prices include ride, traffic and community policing. It also includes the operational side of it, which include fully equipping officers 24 hours a day. In Huron East, these expenditures can vary, from the 48 calls for the most serviced crime of domestic disturbance to the realm of possession of methamphetamines that saw four cases last year, one more than marijuana possession.
“I’m not going to spin you a yarn here for Huron East and tell you cost will go down, it likely will not. So what you will see from here on out are incremental increases opposed (to the) drastic which you spoke about,” Younan responded back to Chartrand’s question.
“In order to alleviate some of the pain and I’m not saying $190,000 is not painful, it is painful. But to alleviate, the OPP have done a phase-in.”
Since there is such a large boost in police expenses as a result of the new billing model, increases will be capped at approximately $40 per property a year. Reductions will vary from $18 per property in the first year to $96 per property in year five of the phase-in. In some cases Younan mentioned residents were paying as little as $7 per household and others were paying more than a $1,000.
“I know Huron East won’t agree with me at all, but I can tell you the contracts that I’ve renewed down in Essex County, those five contracts coming down, they think the billing is fair,” he said.
Huron East’s Mayor Bernie MacLellan was the one to lead most of the back and forth questionnaire, he went on to say that he had a ‘problem’ with the new increases and other recent changes.
“The reconciliation got pulled out from under us, if you are talking calls for service, we used to get back almost a $100,000 a year,” stated MacLellan about the rebates that were yanked without an explanation to why it happened.
“And it’s a little disconcerting when you say we shouldn’t compare what we pay for policing for the level of service we actually get.”
Younan replied to the mayor’s comments. “Your worship, there is still a reconciliation adjustment. It’s not just done semi-annually it’s due at the end of the year. And (in) respect to the larger rebates you were getting, I think you can look at that positively.”
The mayor ended in a professional manner and thanked the OPP representatives for making their way to Seaforth, but “we don’t accept the costs.”