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Osoyoos mayor surprised, but ready to deal with new policing costs

Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff says she was surprised to find out Osoyoos exceeded 5,000 residents in the 2016 census, which triggers a new deal for policing in the town.
February 08, 2017 - 4:09 PM

OSOYOOS - The Town of Osoyoos is experiencing growth pains following the release of today’s census figures.

Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff says today’s figures showing the Town of Osoyoos at 5,085 residents caught city officials by surprise.

“We’re kind of blindsided this morning by policing costs. We didn’t realize we would be over 5,000, partly because last year when the census was being completed, we feared we would lose population because of the issue regarding the closure of Osoyoos Secondary School,” McKortoff said this afternoon, Feb. 8.

McKortoff says the city will deal with it, assuming responsibility for the new costs on April 1.

“We’ve been paying 30 per cent of policing costs, now that will jump to 70 per cent,” she says.

She expects the new figures, as yet unknown, will impact the 2017 budget. Council will be looking at it during the next council meeting, and in the meantime the ministry is putting together an information package for Osoyoos, with a meeting planned between the management unit and council for late February or early March.

McKortoff  says council has a number of options to look at including contracting police services with RCMP, forming an independent force or contracting with an adjacent unit.

The town of Osoyoos paid $387,000 for policing costs last year, and the town has been setting aside reserves in anticipation of someday exceeding the 5,000 population mark.

“We do have $223,200 in reserves right now, so at least we have a bit of a cushion,” she says.


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