OPP costs wallop Minden Hills
By Chad Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Nov. 12 Minden Hills committee-of-the-whole meeting.
Minden Hills’s policing costs will jump by 27 per cent in 2016, a $391,000 increase representing a 6.24 per cent increase over the township’s 2015 tax levy.
The township’s policing bill will rise from $1.4 to $1.8 million in the second year of a five-year phase-in of the province’s new OPP billing model, which redistributed OPP costs on a per household basis through the province.
Seasonal residences count as households.
Last year, the township’s OPP bill rose from $1.2 to $1.4 million and 4.13 per cent of the 5.9 per cent tax increase was attributed directly to policing costs.
Because the funding formula was forced on municipalities by the province, the county’s lower-tier townships have been passing those increased police bills directly to taxpayers.
“We know we have a few more years of this,” said Reeve Brent Devolin, indicating that combined with other financial pressures, the township would be lucky to keep property tax increases in the single digits in coming years. “Be prepared, this is what’s coming to you.”
Property severances are about to get more expensive in Minden Hills after councillors passed a parkland dedication bylaw.
Designed to offset costs for the creation and maintenance of park space in the township, the bylaw allows the township to request a maximum of two per cent of land being developed for parkland use or cash-in-lieu, worth up to five per cent of the property.
It will also apply to severances of land for residential lots, the five per cent representing a portion of the new, severed lot and not the total lot from which it is being severed.
“Long overdue, about time, thank you,” Reeve Brent Devolin told planner Ian Clandening.
Such bylaws are common in many municipalities.
A couple of residents registered concerns about the location of an affordable housing project by the Kawartha Lakes Haliburton Housing Corporation during a public meeting on the project.
Residents told councillors they were worried the project – a 12-unit, single-storey complex – would interfere with the wildlife on the municipally owned property near the S.G. Nesbitt Memorial Arena where the building is scheduled to be built.
Blanding’s turtles, a species at risk, are known to inhabit the area.
The housing corporation did have an environmental impact statement, including an Aug. 28 visit to the property, completed by consultants by Cambrium Inc. The housing corporation has said that according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the suitability of habitat on the property is low.
The plan also includes a 10-metre setback from the wetland.