Written By: Wednesday, September 13th 2017

Owen Sound City Council has some big decisions to make over who may be policing the city in the future.

The OPP costing working group, that consists of Mayor Ian Boddy, City Manager Wayne Ritchie and Councillor Brian O’Leary, were presented with the OPP’s proposal yesterday and now have 6 months to decide.

While an analysis has yet to be done on how the numbers compare to the level of service provided, the proposed cost of the OPP for the first three years, a transition period, would cost just under $8.6 million and an extra $1.3 million dollars for start up costs in the first year.

A full breakdown of the costs can be found here:

The OPP’s proposal adds 5 new constables as well, which can be seen in the the breakdown of the proposed amalgamated staffing:

OPP say there would be at least 7 officers dedicated to Owen Sound at any given time.

They also believe at Owen Sound’s current call volume, the 5 additional constables are required to meet their standard.

Mayor Ian Boddy adds the numbers can’t be looked at with face value and adds we have to wait and see what those numbers really mean when they receive the analysis from their consultant, Levack Management Consultant.

The proposal also does not include other financial considerations that include the cost of maintaining the Police Services Board, severances for municipal employees according to the city’s collective agreement, and costs to modify the current Police station into an OPP detachment.

The analysis is expected to be released in about 6 weeks to city council.

Owen Sound Police Association Vice President and Constable Brent Downs says he wasn’t worried going into the OPP costing meeting, but does feel more confident coming out of it and just hopes that the public remains informed.

He adds the proposal is considerably higher than what citizens of Owen Sound are currently paying.

“We just have to decide what level of service do the citizens want and are they getting value for their service right now.”

The OSPA has started a campaign in favour of keeping the municipal service and is offering citizens and businesses free signs that say, “Keep Our #OwenSound Police”.

Public consultation will be held before the final decision made.

Boddy says he hopes they will have a decision by the end of 2017.