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Penticton  

Town's census appeal fails

The Town of Osoyoos has partially failed its appeal of the 2016 census, and have begrudgingly signed an RCMP contract with the provincial government.

The 2016 census pegged Osoyoos at 5,085 people, over the 5,000 threshold for the first time, which requires municipalities to pay for 70 per cent of their policing budget.

Below the 5,000 person mark, municipalities pay just 30 per cent of the local policing bill. As a result, the town launched a formal appeal of the count with Statistics Canada.

During Monday’s council meeting, town manager Barry Romanko said the town’s recount came back at 5,050 people.

“Although we were successful in dropping our population, it was an insufficient amount to bring us below the 5,000 threshold,” he said.

Romanko then presented council with an RCMP contract that bumps up municipal police spending from $376,000 to $953,000.

The agreement has the town paying for five RCMP officers, while the province’s rural policing program pays for three. In 2019, the detachment will be going up to nine members, with the town paying for the new officer.

Romanko said the province asked for the contract to be signed by the end of the month, or the municipality could end up paying for 100 per cent of its policing bill.

Coun. Mike Campol voiced frustration at a system that increases costs on a local government so dramatically over 50 residents.

“But having said that, I’m quite proud of council and this administration for challenging it,” he said.

Mayor Sue McKortoff echoed that sentiment, and noted she is happy how the province worked with the town, “they were very good about it, they listened, at least they are paying attention.”

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