A petition is underway in West Nipissing demanding that council hold a referendum on the impact replacing the municipal police with the OPP would have. The petition states taxpayers would be on the hook for an additional $11.1 million when start-up and exit costs are considered as well as a new OPP building.
The OPP has told council the current police building doesn’t meet their standards and a new one is needed at a cost of $8 million. In addition, since some existing employees won’t be transferring to the OPP, they will need to be severed plus exiting pensions need to be topped up to OPP standards for an exit cost of $2.5. The final expense is a one-time start-up cost of slightly more than $621,000.
The referendum would not ask taxpayers who they prefer as their police agency of choice. Rather it will ask how the $11.1 million of new debt will be paid for, the impact this debt will have on property taxes and how local policing service would be affected under an OPP model. The petition says residents have the right to know all this information before the OPP deal is finalized.
The petition calls for the referendum question to be added in next October’s municipal election and in the interim that council rescind the motion it passed at the December 5th meeting to switch to the OPP.