Reeves take OPP billing concerns to minister
|By Sue Tiffin - Staff Writer | February 27, 2014
Four local municipal leaders joined more than 1,800 elected officials in Toronto to share their concerns about the new OPP billing model at the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association/Ontario Good Roads Association convention that ran from Feb. 23-26.
Dysart reeve Murray Fearrey, Algonquin Highlands reeve Carol Moffatt, Minden Hills reeve Barb Reid, and Haliburton County warden and Highlands East reeve Dave Burton were kept busy at back-to-back meetings during the four-day conference which included a variety of topics, one of which was the new OPP billing model.
The billing model, intended to even out provincial costing, would cause massive tax increases of 20-36 per cent in Haliburton County, and reeves feel the plan would put a significant number of households in jeopardy of major debt.
The reeves prepared a delegation for the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Madeleine Meilleur, OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis and Municipal Policing Commander Rick Philbin, but felt the neutral response to their presentation was disappointing.
“We did voice our concerns,” said Burton, who noted that the minister heard from 50 municipal delegations on the police costing formula. “I hope they were listening. It was almost a plea, because we just can’t afford this new formula.”
Burton said he hoped the government would feel pressure to review the funding formula that requires, among other concerns, that Haliburton County pay for 54 officers despite being serviced by 29 officers without a need for more.
“I think we’re doing what we can do down here,” said Burton.
Council has stressed that they are proud of the police force and support their efforts, but are against the OPP billing reform as a political issue. Moffatt has been vocal on social media sites to urge local residents to get involved, write letters to members of parliament, and show concern for the issue.
SUE TIFFIN is a reporter for The Highlander and holds the honour of being the only married reporter with a baby in the county. She returned to Minden after 16years of Toronto and Seoul life, and is trying to relearn Canadian culture. Her dog, Jjigae, is a rare breed in Canada and tends to take up more space in the bed than is physically possible. Sue is fascinated by science and nutrition,and sometimes forgets that it’s not always a good idea to be honest.