DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Concerns from the Ottawa Valley township of Greater Madawaska over rising policing costs led councillors to bemoan the Region's bloated police budget at a recent council meeting.
Included in council's agenda for their meeting on the evening of Monday, Feb. 24, was a letter from the Township of Greater Madawaska detailing their concerns over increasing costs of Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) patrols in 2015.
Under a new billing model, Greater Madawaska anticipates an increase of 192 per cent per household in 2015 for police, jumping from $369 to $911. However, some councillors considered it a bargain compared to the cost of the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS).
"With what we pay, and 50 per cent of the Region's budget being police, $911 seems like a hell of a deal. Maybe we should get the OPP here," opined Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy.
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor was quick to point out that the township must remain with DRPS, but also voiced her frustration with rising police costs.
"We've had this discussion before, and we can not get out of Durham Regional policing," said Mayor O'Connor. "It is 50 per cent of the Region's budget, which I think is totally out of control."
Last year, Mayor O'Connor was a vocal opponent of the increase in the police budget, jumping to $172.1 million up from $169.6 million in 2012.
Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger added that this year, the Region's police budget is set to rise 3.2 per cent, to $177.6 million - the lowest increase in the past 18 years.
"That's only because of what happened last year," retorted Mayor O'Connor.
As well, 2014 marks the fifth consecutive year that DRPS will not be hiring any new officers.
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