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2014-04-07 06:50:29

I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the discussion about the proposed OPP billing costs on Bram Lebo's radio program County Hot Seat on March 31st and offer the following in response to Bram's editorial in The Highlander on April 3rd.

The statement that there was no Haliburton County participation in "various consultations regarding the OPP billing model" is incorrect. We explained during the radio interview that Dysart representatives did attend in May 2013 (Minden Hills was in a state of emergency due to the flood so could not attend but had planned to). Municipalities in the County sent Council and staff representatives to the next consultation at Orillia in November 2013. That's when everyone in the region learned the actual cost of the proposed model.

Several members of County Council attended the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Conference in Toronto in late February 2014 to participate in a delegation with the Minister of Public Safety to express our concerns over the proposed OPP billing model. We also spoke to several other Liberal ministers as well as the Leader of the Opposition expressing our concerns and building awareness among MPP's around the negative financial implications of the proposed OPP billing model.

In early March we obtained cost information for the approximately 40 "own" police forces in the province and saw that all have per household costs that are well above the proposed OPP costs.. It doesn't look like a viable alternative.

During one of the breaks in the interview, Bram suggested to Laura and I that a business case on the costs of our own police force should only take a couple of weeks to prepare and that he would do it for a dollar. I'd like to take him up on his offer.

2014-04-07 10:00:33

Hi Barb, my apologies if I gave the impression there was no participation at all in the consultations. As you noted, there was some.

Please send the information you have on those 40 municipalities (you must have each of their budgets in order to have made your conclusions) and any other relevant information collected so far. Please also bring a resolution to county council commissioning the work as you would do normally. I'll get started as soon as the other business case on amalgamation is done.

Best regards -- Bram

2014-04-07 06:51:35

Sorry....didn't mean to be anonymous! The comment is from Barb Reid, Reeve, Township of Minden Hills.

2014-04-07 11:08:12

H Bram - you didn't give an impression - you stated explicitly that there was no consultation and there was...check the interview tape. I will email the list of 40 municipalities to you. There is no other relevant information collected on a business case for an "own" police force. We have been trying to get a complete Haliburton Highlands OPP detachment budget but have been unsuccessful so far. All we can tell you is what everyone else already knows....the municipal cost for policing in Haliburton County is approximately $3.5 million a year. I said "I" would be interested in taking you up on your offer - I meaning "me", not County Council. And I'm happy to front the dollar. Have at it.


Barb Reid
Township of Minden Hills