Like Brockville and many others recently, Orangeville Town council is declining the OPP’s offer to police the town in place of the Orangeville Police Service (OPS).
After exploring whether it should accept the OPP’s bid or continue with the Orangeville Police Service (OPS), council decided to go with what town staff has identified as the more expensive option on Monday night (June 12).
In the recorded vote, Mayor Jeremy Williams, Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock, Coun. Nick Garisto and Coun. Gail Campbell voted against town CAO Ed Brennan’s recommendation to go with the OPP. Councillors Scott Wilson, Sylvia Bradley and Don Kidd voted in favour of the OPP.
At the request of council, the OPP had proposed an annual expense budget of about $7.8 million to police the town in place of the OPS over the next three years.
That offer included a one-time, first-year startup cost of about $1.01 million. The OPP bid didn’t take any anticipated revenue it might generate into account.
By comparison, OPS is budgeting to spend about $9.7 million this year, and bring in about $1.55 million in revenue. The OPS’ approved net budget for 2017 is $8.2 million.
The OPS is currently authorized to employ 42 uniform officers. If the OPP had taken over, it would have operated with a full-time equivalent of 42.58 uniform officers.
However, it would have reduced the number of OPS civilian members in Orangeville from 27 to 10. A total of 17 civilian members would have lost their jobs, as their administrative roles would have been assumed by existing OPP employees.
The town was projected to spend $350,000 less in the first three years under the OPP when compared to OPS. In the following years starting 2021, however, town staff estimated taxpayers would save as much as $4.3 million annually.
In late May, Brennan tabled a recommendation that council replace OPS with the OPP. Council voted against his recommendation on Monday.
Brennan noted town staff’s analysis wasn’t meant to reflect negatively on the OPS or local officers’ ability to perform their jobs. However, town staff felt the OPP presented the best policing option for Orangeville based on cost and an overall impact on the town and its economy.
“What could we do with such money? Well, of course, that would be up to your council,” Brennan said, referring to the anticipated savings under the OPP in late May. “When you start making investments in those areas to that degree, it has a spinoff in your community. You start building your community the way that you want it.”
Editor’s Note: Orangeville differs from Midland in that the OPP quote for our community came in far higher yearly, included service level reductions, added millions more up front with building enhancements, start up costs and disbanding costs including pension top-ups and severances for senior staff as well as any officers or civilians who are not offered employment. We are still waiting to hear what recommendations the consultants make to Midland’s Council and, more importantly, will they heed them. We are still waiting for a public meeting and for the many letters sent the committee to be published. The town’s website posted minutes from only one meeting and it shows many letters sent in but none of them, nor their replies are being made public despite the pledge from our Mayor for transparency.