Finnie asks about police equipment costs

It cost Well­ing­ton County taxpayers $11.5-million to operate its coun­ty OPP service in 2008.

Councillor Rod Finnie said at county council on April 30 he is concerned about $875,000 of that was underspent because of staff vacancies in 2008 in the police service. Officers are, from time to time, moved from one place in the province to another as required.

As well, some retire and some transfer.

Finnie said he is concerned because the county is charged for each officer provided, and he wondered about that cost.

County OPP Inspector Mark Vanlanduyt explained that equipment is mainly pur­chased on a ratio per every three officers.

He said at one time during last year, the county OPP was short 11 officers, but it is now back to normal staffing.

Further, he said, recruits will arrive in a few weeks.

Finnie asked how charges relate per officer “if we’re short?”

Vanlanduyt explained the service runs into a problem because equipment is pur­chased when the contract says it must be replaced. He added that when an officer leaves, the equipment remains behind to be used by someone else.

“The equipment is still here,” he said. “We try to staff so that the equipment is used.”

Councillor Lou Maieron then asked what will happen to the favourable variance from police expenditures. The ser­vice was budgeted to spend $11,887,000 last year, and had $302,791 left over.

Treasurer Craig Dyer said that the positive variance is “one of many” that might occur across the entire county budget.

“The net result forms part of the overall finance position,” Dyer said. He added that county council will decide what to do with the surplus.