Ok, so if you missed Part One, it was all about the budget portion of the meeting. Part Two is a recap of the Council Meeting Agenda which was about an hour and a half long in the middle of the 5 1/2 hour meeting.
Throughout the time that I have spent in Council Chambers, I have noticed that often times some of the pieces of the agenda are moved to be received and passed so quickly that if you are in council chambers with an agenda in hand, watching from home on Rogers TV or reading my blog, it is hard to know what is involved. There was an item of correspondence received by Council from Ms. Judith Queale and it is definitely worth a read. (You can find it HERE on pages 22 & 23) Ms. Queale sent a well written letter addressed to all members of Council and voices her concerns with the potential tax increase. As well as voicing her concerns, Ms. Queale goes on to give some of her cost saving ideas. Kudos to Ms. Queale!
Council discussed at some length rooftop solar projects with Ethosolar Inc. According to Ms.Tuckett (Director of Economic Development), the request for a blanket support resolution by Ethosolar Inc. from council is so that when the time comes for the solar energy company to begin solar projects in town, they would rank higher in the Province’s FIT program (Feed-In Tariff). The FIT program encourages people to provide renewable energy by paying a tariff of $x per kWh to those who are participating. If there is blanket support from a municipality, the projects will potentially rate higher on the FIT scale when applying for a contract. Councillor Campbell was not interested in supporting a motion that gave blanket support while Councillor Bradley felt that it is important to support alternative energy and would be a good driver of economic development as well as having the environmental benefits. The vote was called and passed with support from Councillors Wilson, Bradley and Garisto as well as from Deputy Mayor Maycock.
The other really noteworthy portion of the Council Meeting was a long discussion about The Orangeville Lions Sports Park. This has been a 6 year project to date and the Recreation Committee met for the first time last week and has put forward a recommendation for the installation of lights on the primary soccer field at the park with consideration given to minimizing the impact on neighbouring properties. Councillor Bradley felt it important to notify the public in that area of the lights and ask for input. Councillor Kidd is adamantly against this for the reasons of both the lights and noise that would bother the residents if the fields were able to be used until 11pm. Councillor Garisto thinks it necessary to have another public meeting. Mayor Williams stated that there has been significant amounts of public input already gathered when the concepts of the park were being developed as well as having been advertised and promoted by the Town of Orangeville as well as by the service club. At the last public open house that was held at the park, citizens were able to give input into the various concepts and there was a citizen concerned that there wouldn’t be enough lighting and none had stated that were opposed to lighting. Mr. Brennan (Director of Parks & Recreation) notified Council that since 2009 there have been postings online, open houses as well as the concepts posted at Alder Arena, Tony Rose and Town Hall to gain public input. Numerous requests from residents have been received by the Town to put lighting on the sports pad as well. Councillor Kidd said “At the very least, we should be doing a mailing to the people that are going to be directly affected by this field.” Councillor Kidd went on quite a rant about how this field has been going on for 6 years partially built and was quite indignant by the fact that the Rec Committee had to decide on this so quickly. “Then you come to a brand new Rec committee and say in 13 days come back with a recommendation for council on this field. 6 years. 6 years. Most of the councillors here have been here 6 years and longer. 6 years and they couldn’t come up with an idea on that field? And you give us 13 days?” Councillor Kidd is so adamantly opposed to these lights that he went on to say “When my phone rings because the noise is loud at night and they can’t have the enjoyment of their backyard, I will be responding with ‘Call Mayor Williams, Call Mr. Brennan, Call whoever votes for it.'” Do you think Councillor Kidd stopped there? Hahaha, of course not….he continued with “Lights don’t make noise. Lights bring people and the people make the noise.” Councillor Kidd, we get it. You don’t want the lights. You have made your point…..20 times over. So, after all of that conversation, a motion was moved and passed to send a mailing and have an open house for more public input before proceeding with the installation of lights.
Item 13.1 on the agenda gave me a chuckle (as well as those around me who are also frequent flyers in Council Chambers). The item was in regards to the approval of the 2015 Operating Budget…I guess whoever was in charge of putting the agenda together had either never attended a budget session or had their fingers and toes crossed that miracles were going to take place between 5:30pm and 7pm that night. Needless to say, they were able to skip over that item on the agenda.
But then, something miraculous DID happen…Council finished a Council Agenda in record time (approx 1 1/2 hours)!!!! And then all the citizens in the gallery rose to their feet and yelled “HOORAH!” and confetti fell from the ceiling in celebration of this unbelievably epic moment in time. Ok, so that part never happened, but in my mind that’s how it played out. I was just so excited to see an agenda completed….and in such good time.
Hope you enjoyed the play by play…stay tuned for my post next week – The next budget meeting is Tuesday, March 31st at 7pm