Special meeting set for policing in Wingham - June 7, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
The hotly-contested debate of who will police Wingham will continue to be addressed at a special meeting of council on Monday, June 11.
During council’s June 4 meeting, Reeve Neil Vincent advised council that due to unidentified issues resulting in “tight timelines”, a proposed motion to bring a report back regarding Ontario Provincial Police costing for covering Wingham should be pushed to a special meeting instead of waiting for council’s June 18 meeting.
Council passed a motion authorizing the special meeting as well as a second motion to have staff investigate bringing back the OPP’s costing proposal, which was delivered last year and voted down in March.
North Huron Council, save Councillor Trevor Seip, who also sits on the municipality’s police service board, voted in March in favour of maintaining the Wingham Police Service over switching to the OPP.
In the months since, however, council has been informed that, over the next several years, an expanding police department will result in double-digit percentage increases to the annual Wingham Police Service budget.
The expansion is a result of the police services board signing a memorandum of understanding with the Wingham Police Association, an organization that negotiates on behalf of the Wingham police with the police services board, guaranteeing a two-officer-per-shift practice to be implemented by mid-2019.
The change doubles the number of active officers at any given time, resulting in significant increases to wages and benefits.
Councillor Seip, during a police service board meeting, said he believed council was experiencing “sticker shock”.
After approving the Wingham Police Service budget for 2018, council indicated a desire to once again investigate the OPP’s costing model.
Originally that model guaranteed increases in cost over a three-year period which included enhanced service by the provincial organization, however, after that it may have saved Wingham ratepayers significantly. In light of the increases to the Wingham Police Service’s budget, however, the OPP costing has apparently become more palatable for council.
The special meeting is set in council chambers on June 11 starting at 7 p.m.