Chatsworth council has initiated a public process as it continues to review a potential switch from Ontario Provincial Police to West Grey Police.
Township CAO Patty Sinnamon provided a report to council at Wednesday's meeting outlining findings of the West Grey Police costing proposal which was first brought forward in 2018.
Council approved a recommendation to call a public meeting where representatives from both the OPP and West Grey Police will make presentations. A community survey will also be created for ratepayers to provide feedback.
West Grey Police is proposing a five-year agreement to provide police services to Chatsworth at a set fee of $865,675 annually. According to Sinnamon's report, the current cost of OPP services in 2019 is $1.072-million.
Sinnamon's report pegs the total cost of West Grey's proposal over five years at $4.32-million, while the projected cost of OPP services over that same period is $5.52-million.
If the township does change to West Grey Police, Sinnamon's report explains OPP provincial responsibilities, such as patrolling all provincial highways and many waterways, will continue to be provided at no extra cost to Chatsworth.
Mayor Scott Mackey says council plans to take its time with this decision as public safety is very important to the community.
"We recognize the West Grey (proposal) is over $1-million less in five years, so it's something we certainly have to have a look at as the custodians of the tax dollars," Mackey explains. "But, we want to make sure it's apples to apples. The police service that we have right now with the OPP, we are very happy with. And West Grey has a good police service also."
Sinnamon told councillors both the OPP and West Grey Police Service provide various community policing programs.
Under Chatsworth's current OPP agreement, Sinnamon says the township must provide one-year notice to terminate. That would require a decision prior to the end of December 2019, as the OPP contract is up for renewal on Dec. 31, 2020.
The public meeting date has yet to be finalized but Sinnamon expects it will likely be in September.