Well the budget passed, but that wasn’t the big news of Council this week….(Don’t worry, I will get to that a little later….)
But I first have to skip to the last 2 minutes of the meeting when, yet again, I was left flabbergasted…(I always say that nothing at Council could surprise me anymore, and yet something almost ALWAYS does!)
The last motion at Council tonight was one to direct the Town’s CAO to request a formal investigation from Peel Police into Mayor William’s use of a Town of Orangeville credit card and determine whether criminal charges should be laid. Council also requested that Mayor Williams remove himself as Chair of the Police Services Board until this issue is resolved. This motion passed almost unanimously, only Councillor Garisto voted against the motion.
About 30 minutes before Council began tonight, the Mayor had posted a statement on his Facebook page explaining expenditures incurred on the card and stating: “For the time being, I have paid in full all amounts charged until we can resolve how we wish to proceed. I have also decided to return my card to staff until, and if, this issue can be resolved with clarity.”
As of now, that is all of the information there is on this matter – I’m sure more will be unfolding over the next couple of days.
Budget Passes….IN MARCH!
Well I would have lost the bet…I thought the budget talks would keep going until at least the end of April…but, I guess if you keep talking about the same thing over and over and over at every meeting for months, eventually people get worn down.
The budget passed at a 2.5% increase – almost unanimously – the only person who voted against the budget was Councillor Garisto. In a last ditch effort to reduce the budget, Councillor Garisto brought up a number of items that he wanted to see removed from the budget – none of those items passed. Quite honestly, I hope this budget was a lesson to all members of council for next year (perhaps that is wishful thinking on my part) – if you want to see a REAL change in the budget, there needs to be talks about BIG items – i.e.: Tony Rose, libraries, etc…you can’t get to zero percent (or even close) by removing a few bucks here and a few bucks there.
I would love for someone to explain to me why the Finance Committee doesn’t meet throughout the year? Why don’t they meet to talk about the big stuff? In my humble opinion, if they met even once per quarter, to talk about money saving initiatives, this could really go a long way in reducing the sheer number of meetings they have to nitpick about $1000 here and $5000 there….and could potential save all of us some money! Forward thinking – a novel idea.
Kudos to Chief Kalinski
I have to give a big shout out to Police Chief Wayne Kalinski. He delivered a wonderful presentation at Council and reviewed in depth all of the great strides Orangeville Police Service have taken over the last year and a half. Chief Kalinski is passionate about Orangeville and takes pride in his work and the work of his entire team at OPS.
Chief Kalinski made a plea to council to stop the OPP costing – not forever, but for now and to give him the opportunity to show even more of what him and his team at OPS could do with the support of the Police Service Board. In 2015, the police services were in surplus of over $200,000 and they came in at a zero percent budget for 2016. Chief Kalinski explained that this was just the beginning and that if given the opportunity, there would be more savings long term as they looked into the possibility of providing policing service to not only Amaranth, but possibly other municipalities as well.
Chief Kalinski is a great leader. He has shown this time and time again throughout his reign as Chief, but at the meeting, that was made even more clear as dozens of people – officers, staff, PSB members and citizens – all came to council in support of the Chief.
Sergeant Doug Fry, on behalf of Orangeville Police Association, was on the agenda to speak following Chief Kalinski’s presentation. I was utterly disgusted that members of Council denied him the right to speak due to a previous comment that Council would go into closed session at 10pm. By the time discussion ended following the Chief’s presentation, it was 10:02pm. Unbelievable. Councillors Wilson, Bradley, Kidd and Deputy Mayor Maycock voted to end Council at that moment and head into closed session.
Sergeant Fry sat in this meeting waiting for his turn to speak for 3 hours….what a disgrace. I, as well as everyone else in Council Chambers, wanted to hear what he had to say.
There were also members of the community in the gallery waiting to speak – again unbelievable. I would hope that all members of council would take a moment to apologize to all of those who sat through this meeting for HOURS waiting to present. Yet another Council agenda goes completely unfinished.
I am happy to report that I spoke to Sergeant Fry after the Council drama ended, and he has graciously agreed to come on ‘In My Humble Opinions’ on Rogers TV (channel 63) and share what he was going to say at Council! Also on my next show, I have Chief Kalinski, Councillor Sylvia Bradley and Darrin Davidson – We are taping on Wednesday and the show is airing on Sunday, March 27th! Make sure to tune in!