TORONTO -- About 580,000 Ontario property owners will see an increase in policing costs, while an almost equal amount will get a break under a new OPP billing model unveiled Thursday.
Municipalities that depend on the Ontario Provincial Police for regular police coverage have long complained of inequitable billing, as well as the steep climb in police compensation which drives up local property taxes.
While the new formula released by Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi does not deal directly with the overall cost of policing, it does spread the expense out more evenly among municipalities.
The new billing model splits the cost of OPP into two parts: 60% will cover basic services with an average cost to a property owner of $203 a year and the remaining 40% will be based on the number and nature of police calls.
A community with a high crime rate would likely pay more for police services.
The new formula kicks in Jan. 1, with increases phased in over five years at a maximum of $40 per year for each homeowner.
Decreases will be phased in on a sliding scale over the same time period.
Any future hikes in OPP salaries and benefits -- which make up about 85% of the total cost -- will be directly added to the taxpayers’ tab.
Naqvi said OPP services still remain a good deal for municipalities.
"If you look at the average OPP cost, it's about $355 per property versus about $787 for self-policed municipalities," he said.