Rural municipalities across our province continue to wrestle with constantly escalating costs for OPP protection, while trying to maintain necessary policing levels.
Bluewater Mayor Tyler Hessel says his municipality is being hit hard by policing cost increases, and will continue to be affected by hikes for at least the next few years.
He predicts Bluewater ratepayers will be billed for almost $1.5 million dollars for policing by 2020.
Hessel tells The Beach News that some municipalities this year are being hit by sharp increases, while others see their costs remain relatively stable.
He points out that besides Bluewater, ratepayers in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, Howick and Morris-Turnberry are also paying much more for the same level of OPP coverage.
Hessel blames the province's funding formula for providing Provincial Police protection.
He maintains the best course of action is to continue to work with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, toward achieving policing reform.
Hessel says any talk of forming a Huron County police service would have to be subject to a cost-analysis of OPP coverage, to guard against the possibility of paying much more for a homegrown solution.
He prefers to stay with OPP and have Bluewater continue to receive basic protection, even in the face of rising costs.