Police budget gap between city, counties

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Cornwall Community Police Service

The cost of OPP in the United Counties is inching up slightly - but not nearly as much as the amount being spent in the city.

The SD and G Police Services Board approved a 2013 budget this week that calls for a slight increase in spending - about $100,000 more on a $12-million budget. Taxpayers will only be dinged for $8.7 million, with the balance being funded by the province.

That's less than it will cost in 2013 for Cornwall police services. The Cornwall Police Service will go before the city budget steering committee Friday, where officers will provide details on a draft budget that spells out a 4.7 per cent increase.

The 2013 Cornwall police budget will cost taxpayers $17.3 million, if approved, an increase of $784,000.

Bill McGimpsey, SD and G warden, said in an interview OPP leadership is cognizant of the financial pressures municipalities are under.

"It's really less than the cost of an alarm system, when you break it down by person," he said, adding the numbers suggests each resident in SD and G pays $200 a year for policing, while alarm monitoring costs several times that in the course of a year.

McGimpsey also said OPP officers remain under contract for this year, so budget spending was easier to forecast.

"These issues were predictable," he said, and suggested policing costs will likely remain stable throughout the year. "Generally they come in very close to budget."

The increased cost of policing in Cornwall is generated largely by salary and benefit increases for members of the service.

There has been talk of doing a study to see what it would cost to have OPP police Cornwall, but nothing official has been sought. McGimpsey said it's unlikely the United Counties would make a move to allow Cornwall police to enforce laws in SD and G, in an effort to share costs.

"We like our OPP service," he said.

The city and United Counties do share other services, including land ambulance.

The SD and G OPP contract is up next year.

McGimpsey said the "actual" figures for the 2012 budget haven't been provided yet, and there are indications those numbers could come in under budget.

Organizations: SD and G Police Services Board, Cornwall Police Service, Queen's Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund

Geographic location: Cornwall, United Counties, SD

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