Council Should Honour OPP Costing Motions For Cost Savings

The two #Amherstburg Council motions pertaining to OPP costing that were never rescinded and stand then-Mayor DiCarlo advised, and council’s February 8, 2023 discussion of Policing, compelled me to write my letter to the editor, River Town Times.

December 2014 motion:
“Administration BE DIRECTED to contact the OPP to obtain police costing for our municipality and
Administration BE DIRECTED to send correspondence to the surrounding municipalities to see if there is interest in shared police services.

January 19, 2017 motion:
Develop an RFP for costing for Windsor and LaSalle to respond to
Explore and analyze possibility of amalgamation with LaSalle and/or Windsor
Work with the OPP on the OPP costing
Report back to Council with the Joint Police AdvisoryCommittee findings and recommendations.

Maybe no delegates were at the meeting because it was not widely advertised, notification emails weren’t received, and it was held at 5 pm on a Wednesday.

I requested council to honour the December 5, 2022 motion to extend the renewal deadline to March 31, 2023; Mayor Prue’s explanation to the public gallery for the extension was so public consultations could be held between December 5 and March.

I pictured public consultations like the original Windsor Police proposal or like those for short-term rentals, Co-An Park, budget, ATV use, Howard Industrial Park District, Warren Mickle Eco Park Project, and Economic Development Community Improvement Plan.

Between December 5 and March 31, council will have had about 25 meetings, but the December 5 motion was only to extend, not schedule public meetings.

Without public consultations no one should claim, as Councillor McArthur has, ‘it’s an indication people are fine with the status quo.’ The survey results were only 1% of 90% of the residents.

As for the savings, the contract renewal is as much a disservice to Amherstburg ratepayers as the original was.

The reported 2023 savings is a paltry $348,441.00, compared to the 2017 suggested annual average savings of $567,802.00 or, as Deputy Mayor Gibb mentioned, around $2 million a year savings with the OPP.

Savings of $1,742,205. over 5 years with Windsor or around $10 million with the OPP – that’s significant savings. Imagine a pool, pickle ball courts, an accessible town hall, better roads, winterized park washrooms, etc., rather than fundraising for parks, welcoming sponsors or approving over expenditures.

In ten years with Windsor, expected savings of $3,484,410., compared to $20,000,000. with OPP.

While the previous council could have set aside more for police reserves, this current council could have honoured public consultation commitments instead of renewing a contract just because it ran out of time.

It is this council that will need to obtain the promised OPP costing during this term to avoid missing any further deadlines and funding for amenities.

Commentary by Linda Saxon

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