Well, Monday’s Meeting was all kinds of crazy – AGAIN. As the days, weeks, months and years pass, it becomes more and more apparent of just WHY we need an Integrity Commissioner. Speaking of which, a very interesting report was released from our Integrity Commissioner as a part of the agenda, item 13.2 if you want to read it in its entirety. (I suggest you do…it’s quite a read.)
Basically, an unnamed member of Council is the subject of a new investigation after a complaint was made to the Integrity Commissioner by a member of Town Staff on August 1st, 2017. This interim report is to update Council on the delay of the investigation stating that there was a challenge to the Integrity Commissioner’s authority to further conduct the investigation. Yup, the subject of the investigation challenged his authority. And the plot thickens. In my last post, you may recall an odd vote that happened during the bylaw portion of the meeting. Basically, the Integrity Commissioner had been reappointed during a prior meeting and the renewal of that contract had been voted in (unanimously)…then, at the last meeting, while voting on a redundant bylaw, that motion failed.
On Monday, a motion came out of the closed session confirming publicly that the Integrity Commissioner has in fact been reappointed for another term. So now that should be official enough for this investigation to continue….in theory.
Continue with the Integrity Commissioner theme, a notice of motion was put forward by Mayor Williams at the end of the meeting (meaning it will be discussed at the next Council Meeting on October 30th, 2017). His motion reads:
“In an attempt to reduce the burden on taxpayers and to ensure only serious complaints receive the additional levels of scrutiny, investigation and expense that an Integrity Commissioner’s investigation can provide; that all complaints sent to the Town of Orangeville’s Integrity Commissioner that are handled after today, Oct 16, 2017, are to be presented first to Council for in camera adjudication and consideration with all names and identifying details redacted by the Integrity Commission and should Council feel that the complaint warrants further investigation beyond council, the complaint would be forwarded to the Integrity Commissioner for investigation upon 5 or more votes in the positive being cast to forward on such a complaint. And should Council not feel the complaint warrants further investigation through the Integrity Commissioner, it be dealt with as Council sees fit. Should the complaint be directed at Council as a whole, that complaint would always be referred to the Integrity Commissioner. The Commissioner is to provide Council with a monthly update as to the number of complaints received and the hours spent investigating each of those complaints.”
Wait – WHAT? I’m a little confused by this motion for a number of reasons. First of all, isn’t the point of having an Integrity Commissioner to take the politics out of these complaints and to ensure Council is conducting themselves in an ethical manner and adhering to the Code of Conduct? The very reason to HAVE an Integrity Commissioner is to get an unbiased opinion about these complaints. To have these complaints go to Council first for “adjudication” defeats the purpose. I would even argue that it kind of takes the integrity out of the process. Secondly, to require 5 or more votes in favour before sending a complaint on? Seems like an odd choice of numbers when there are 7 members serving and a motion is always passed with majority. I am interested to hear the discussions following this motion and in my humble opinion, this motion should NOT pass.
Daycare in Orangeville
A recommendation in the agenda to initiate the process for a zoning bylaw review and possible amendment of Home Daycare Establishments was voted down on Monday night meaning that the bylaw (that has been in effect since 1990) that prohibits the operation of Home Daycares in Semi-Detached Homes and Townhouses will remain in effect. A number of concerned residents spoke up at Council with concerns about this bylaw. To be honest, I didn’t know until recently that this bylaw ever existed….when my children were in daycare, all of their providers with the exception of one lived in either a Townhouse or a Semi-Detached home as is the case with a great number of our residents.
One resident spoke about the sheer number of Semi-Detached and Townhouses there are in Orangeville – according to her research, in 2011, 45% of our homes were NOT detached homes….and in the last 6 years since that number, think about how many more rows of Townhouses have gone up! She also spoke about the cost of daycare centres vs home daycare providers as well as the age restrictions on daycare centres – a lot of centres don’t take children under the age of 18 months and maternity leave is 12 months…so for some, there is no other option.
Councillors Bradley, Garisto and Deputy Mayor Maycock voted in favour of reviewing the bylaw while Councillors Wilson, Campbell, Kidd and Mayor Williams voted against meaning that motion failed.
In my humble opinion, there is no harm in looking into an update to this bylaw – the Town of Orangeville has changed dramatically since the enactment of this bylaw 27 years ago! I am disappointed for all of those that this will impact that Council voted against an opportunity to update a very outdated bylaw. Hopefully this will come back to Council as I am sure we haven’t heard the last of this yet.
Changes to Winter Parking
Good news came in the form of some changes to the winter parking restrictions at Monday’s meeting. The bylaw has been amended to change the overnight parking from 11:30pm-7am to 2am-7am to still allow proper time for snow clearing but to make it less restrictive for residents. AND there will be an overflow parking program in effect on a trial basis from December 1st until March 31st at Rotary Park and Fendley Park. If this trial is successful, they will look at other lots that could be added in the upcoming years.
It’s Budget Time
The proposed budget for 2018 was presented to Council on Monday night. There are several budget meetings scheduled on the following dates:
For anyone interested in asking any budget related questions, it has been asked that you please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find all of the budget documents, including Monday’s presentation online HERE.
First draft of the budget looks pretty good – the impact to taxpayers is currently proposed at 2.53% however, once you factor in the estimated growth of 1%, that would reduce the increase to 1.53%. It will be interesting to watch the process as the next meetings happen throughout the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned for that! I hope to see you at the next meetings!