After last weeks’ budget meeting, I gotta say that I was very surprised that I didn’t see more Orangeville residents at Monday night’s council meeting. In fact, only one resident, Mr. Alan Toms, got up to speak. “There has been a meeting that sort of slipped by us and I’m a little bit puzzled by the manner at which this was handled.” said Mr. Toms in regards to the budget meeting on May 4th. “The Orangeville residents and tax payers deserve a sincere public apology for the manner in which the May 4th meetings were quietly scheduled without adequate notification. Mr. Mayor, your credibility and that of this current council will continually be questioned especially if this apology is not forthcoming.” Mayor Williams replied by stating “It was advertised , there were members in the gallery, there was members from all media there, it was broadcast live on Rogers TV. I have heard the odd comment about it being somehow guarded and shielded in secrecy, that is not the case whatsoever.”
No More “Special Meetings”…
I’m going to jump around for a moment to the end of the meeting where Councillor Bradley spoke about her concern about the number of “emergency” and “special” council meetings. “We’ve had 3, plus some unscheduled budget meetings. In the last 8 years being on council, I don’t recall us having more than 3 in 8 years so right now we’re tracking approximately one a month which I think is concerning.” She continued to explain that when there are emergency or last minute meetings, it is difficult for all members of Council to attend, it is also difficult for staff and council to prepare and that it also leaves the public out of it. “I think it reflects poorly on us.” Councillor Bradley made a great suggestion that when the need does arise for a ‘special’ or last minute meeting, that the Town should be utilizing social media to get the information out to the public as quickly and efficiently as possible to which the Mayor was in support of. Mayor Williams also suggested that committee meetings be posted in that way as well. In my humble opinion, it would be awesome to see these meetings publicized in this way! Here’s hoping this can get started sooner rather than later.
The Humber Lands
What to do with the Humber Lands has been a pretty hot topic around Council especially over the last couple of months of budget talks. This piece of property costs the Town of Orangeville approx $230,000 per year. It was suggested throughout budget deliberations that the land be sold and the profit from the sale be put into reserves. The topic was on the agenda and Councillor Bradley suggested that perhaps staff should come back with a report indicating suggested uses for the land as well as the prospect of leasing it to a business that was wishing to relocate to the Orangeville area. Councillor Wilson has been an advocate of selling the land and continued his plight to get it sold. Councillor Kidd was a supporter of having staff put together a report while Deputy Mayor Maycock said “I think a For Sale Sign should be put on the property.” Mayor Williams suggested that along with a report from staff, perhaps getting public input would be a good idea as well. A motion was made by Councillor Bradley that staff come back with a report to Council and her motion carried.
Changes to Rates and Fees for Rec Services
There were some significant changes to user fees for Recreation facilities in Orangeville proposed to Council at Monday’s meeting. Our acting CAO Mr. Brennan spoke to explain what some of these changes are and how they came about. Based on feedback from the public as well as comparing our fees to similar communities, they were able to determine that by changing some of the rates, it could increase the usage of the facilities. There was a reduction to fees for Figure Skating Skills, Hockey Skills and Drop-In Rate programs to be more competitive with other municipalities. There was also a reduction to room rentals at both Alder St and Tony Rose to hopefully make it more attractive to user groups for hourly and daily rates and increase usage. There are passes being introduced for programs such as Hockey Skills, Shinny Hockey, Figure Skating and Public Skating to make it a more attractive program for residents to take part in. The motion was carried unanimously to accept the new fee schedule.
In My Humble Opinion…
After last week’s blog post, I have had lots of calls, emails, tweets, texts and Facebook messages – THANK YOU for all for reading! My blog post from last week about the SURPRISE Budget Meeting received some extra traffic and I want to share with you why and maybe clarify some things. I am going to share with you a series of screenshots from one of Orangeville’s Q & A Groups in which Mayor Williams was quite vocal in letting the public know that he did not agree with The Orangeville Banner’s article, nor with my writing. If you are on Facebook and would like to read the entire thread, you can find it HERE :
Now, I am sharing this with you to clarify some things… The intention for my blog is not to piss off the Mayor or Council or Town Staff. I have a lot of respect for the job they all do. That being said, I will NOT always agree with them and I guess sometimes my opinion on matters WILL piss them off. I will not always agree with their politics nor will I pretend that I do and I guess that leaves me open to criticism from them as well – and I am ok with that! In the case of last weeks blog post, I was clear in the fact that while I am totally ok with the increase itself, I do not agree with the way that the meeting was conducted, nor do I agree with the Mayor’s politics of spinning a 2.4% increase into a 0.29% by blending it with 2 areas that the Town of Orangeville does not control.
The intention for my blog is to make sure that you, my readers, are kept up to date on what is going on in Orangeville…and at the same time, I share MY opinions on those things and I encourage all of you to share your opinions too!! I am cautious never to cross lines where libel or slander could be brought up, because to me, this isn’t personal…it’s not an attack on any of these people personally, it’s just about their politics. One thing that makes Canada a great place to live, is that I can have different opinions and share them!
What do you think? Did I cross any lines??