Monday’s Council Meeting began on an interesting note. Orangeville resident, Mark Whitcombe spoke at Question Period to question Council, and specifically Mayor Williams, about the way that he was treated at the November 8th Strategic Planning Council Meeting. Mr. Whitcombe had gotten up to speak at that meeting to ask some questions about the primary concern that had been identified at all of the Strategic Planning Sessions, which was regarding “Corporate Leadership” aka the issues of divisiveness and lack of cooperation of Council.
During Mr. Whitcombe’s question, his microphone was cut off, seemingly by the Mayor, while he was speaking. Mr. Whitcombe stated that this was a public meeting, and public input was welcomed. He has also confirmed with the Town Staff that there is a switch, by the Mayor, that if activated cuts all microphones with the exception of the Mayors. Mr. Whitcombe stated “My questions are, and I’m thinking that these questions deserve fuller attention as soon as possible, and possibly by the Integrity Commissioner. Why does such a switch exist? Why was it’s existence largely or completely unknown? Why, if such a switch is deemed necessary, surely it should be under the control of the Town Clerk, rather than an elected officer of the people. To allow an elected officer that level of control is indistinguishable from censorship and muzzling of the public voice.”
No one from Council responded to Mr. Whitcombe’s concerns. I would love to hear your opinions on this…do you think it is appropriate for any elected official to cut off a resident’s mic? In my humble opinion, Mr. Whitcombe was addressing council in a very respectful and appropriate manner. He never raised his voice, or called anyone names…he simply wanted to address the concern…which should be his tax-paying right…don’t you think?
York Street Residents Speak Out
All of the residents of York Street attended Monday’s Council Meeting to address the Town in regards to the upcoming road work that is scheduled in the upcoming months for York Street. The initial road work called for the widening of York Street from its current 7 metres to the standard 8 metres. Residents want to ensure that the character and charm of York Street are maintained and by leaving it as it is would be one way to preserve the heritage. Council voted on a motion to only accept engineering plans for maintaining the 7 metre width.
It was so nice to see all of these residents band together to plea their case and the support came in droves!
Request from PSB goes Sideways
In another strange moment at Council, a motion was put forward to transfer $50,000 from the Police Services Operating Budget to its Capital Budget for the purchase of a new motorcycle. As per the Police Services Act, the role of the Police Service Board (PSB) is to determine how the police budget is spent and that Council has no jurisdiction over how the money is allocated.
In the 2016 year, the Police are operating at a significant surplus and were requesting that $50,000 be transferred into Capital for the above mentioned purpose. Council took it upon themselves to present all of the reasons why the Police should NOT be purchasing a motorcycle…Councillor Bradley called it a “nice-to-have item” and not a “must-have”. And the discussion continued with the suggestion that perhaps bicycles would be a better choice.
Councillor Campbell called this a “housekeeping” item and reminded Council that they are not authorized to dictate how the PSB spends it budget. The motion to transfer the funds failed with only Councillor Campbell, Deputy Mayor Maycock and Mayor Williams voting in favour. I am certain this will not be the last we hear of this issue.
Seems as though Council doesn’t seem to want to spend money on public safety this year – first it was the requests for enhanced fire services and now the dictating of what policing equipment is required…In my humble opinion, it is time to stop spending money on consultants and start using those funds for the items that matter and that keep our residents safe.
Next Council Meeting
The next Council Meeting is coming up on Monday, November 28th at 7pm inside Town Hall