By Chad Ingram
Minden Hill is asking the provincial government to reconsider the new OPP billing framework it instituted in 2015.
Councillors for the township supported a resolution calling on the province to review and change the model during a Feb. 11 committee-of-the-whole meeting.
Redistributing total OPP costs on a per household basis throughout the province the new billing model came into effect last year and is being phased in during a five-year period. Because seasonal residences qualify as households cottaging communities such as Minden Hills and other lower-tier townships that comprise Haliburton County are getting hammered hard.
In Minden Hills the township’s OPP invoice for 2015 was $1.46 million a $260500 increase from the year before. In 2016 the bill is jumping by another $391000 to a total of $1.85 million. The $391000 increase equates to a 6.24 per cent increase in the township’s tax levy which will be passed directly to taxpayers.
Council’s goal for 2016 is to keep the property tax increase for Minden Hills residents below 10 per cent.
“Be it resolved that the Township of Minden Hills requests that the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services review and reconsider the new OPP billing model; reconsider assuming a larger portion of the overall OPP budget for all Ontario municipalities serviced by the OPP; and perform an in-depth review of the current expenditures in order to reduce the cost per household.”
Copies of the resolution will be sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi Finance Minister Charles Sousa Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and to all municipalities serviced by the OPP.
Numerous other townships have passed similar resolutions.
“I think the government’s made up its mind” said Reeve Brent Devolin. “It’s in the ‘do no harm’ category for me. We can keep trying.”
At the upper-tier level Devolin noted that county councillors are working through organizations such as the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and the AMO to lobby the province on the issue. On Feb. 12 Naqvi announced the start of public consultations on the province’s Strategy for a Safer Ontario which includes the sustainability of policing costs.
An online survey can be filled out at https://www.ontario.ca/page/police-police-services-and-community-safety.