PERTH - Perth town council has ratified a five-year OPP contract, which will come into effect on April 5.
In a five-to-one decision on Tuesday evening, council approved a memorandum of understanding, as well as the contract, which will be officially signed at a ceremony at the Perth campus of Algonquin College on Saturday, April 6.
"We value the services of our Perth Police Service, but we are turning the page...to a police force that will (also) serve our community well," said Perth Mayor John Fenik.
Coun. Jim Boldt stated that, while the move was the right one, "it may take a couple of years for us to look back and say this was the right thing to do."
Coun. Jim Graff, who has opposed dissolving the Perth force since the very beginning, remained defiant to the end. He stated that Fenik, as leader of council and a member of the Perth police services board, should have gone to council, and sought "a directive from you to council to look for any and all savings in the Perth Police Service." He reiterated that a new police contract was not like a garbage contract where, if the contractor did not work out, another company could be hired.
"I hope my concerns will be proven wrong over time," Graff ended.
Coun. Ed McPherson spoke for councillors both pro and con when he said that ""this is the hardest decision I've made on council," during his 19 years. "I will remember this all the rest of my life."
McPherson was also visceral in asking that the new provincial government tackle rising fire and police costs.
"The time has come to put the breaks on this," he said adamantly.