Shelburne council reconsiders position on local police force
BARRIE -- Shelburne council is reconsidering a unanimous decision it made back in July to keep the town's local police service over switching to the OPP.
The town now says it no longer makes "fiscal sense" to keep the police force that has been serving the area since 1879.
Councillors say new information came to light in the wake of the disbandment of the Orangeville Police Service last month.
Orangeville's mayor told CTV News at the time that it all came down to dollars and cents. "We believe through the costing exercise and consultation, the service level provided by the OPP will be as high, or better than the OPS is providing right now for significantly less cost."
A 'Memorandum of Understanding' recently presented by Shelburne's police chief outlined the town's need to hire new staff, including two staff sergeants, an inspector and a special constable, along with dispatching and other services. The bottom line, it would cost $724,000 more each year to keep the local force.
The existing station's planned expansion would also cost $3 million, to be spread over 20 years. The grand total of both would run the town roughly $924,000 each year.
"If Shelburne had understood the implications of Orangeville's change to OPP, we certainly would have looked at even delaying our decision-making process to that following the Orangeville decision," said town councillor Shane Hall. "I think you're going to have still people on both sides of the fence, so to speak, but understanding that we have a responsibility to be fiscally responsible, this is the only option that we're seeing in the near future."
The town submitted the cost review to the OPP and is waiting for updated numbers on how much provincial police project it would cost the town to make the switch to the OPP.
With the Town of Orangeville set to transition to the OPP from its local police force on October 1st, the heat is on for Shelburne councillors to make a final decision.
"If we don't have our timing in line with Orangeville's situation, then we're going to start incurring additional costs," explains Councillor Hall. "We do still have a very steep hill to climb."
- With files from CTV's Sean Grech