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Our five key priorities for Council

January 10, 2019   ·   0 Comments

THE CLICHÉ ‘NEW YEAR, NEW ME’ may never need to ring more true than it does today for Orangeville Council.

Following more than a decade’s worth of ill-advised spending habits at Town Hall, the seven fresh faces drafted in to fix things at the municipal level have their work cut out for them if they are to truly inspire change in Orangeville. They made a good start at their inaugural meeting on December 10, working, and voting, together in an apparent display of solidarity that suggested they mean business when they say they hope to usher in a new era of fiscal responsibility within council chambers.

While council deserves some credit for the start they have made to their tenure, there is still much work to be done. 2019 will be an important year for this community and the Citizen has put together something of a drawing board for our new council, highlighting what we believe to be five key priorities for the new year.

Right at the tip top of our list, unsurprisingly, is the community’s long-standing policing issue. Whether it be standing behind the Orangeville Police Service, drafting in the Ontario Provincial Police or taking the necessary steps to roll out a referendum to the community, something the Citizen has previously called for, we believe a final, definitive decision needs to be made this year regarding the future of community policing in Orangeville. 

The issue consumed the majority of the previous council term. The community deserves better this time around. A new costing will likely arrive from the OPP within the next six months. We expect that Council will hire an independent consultant to review all the numbers and provide a recommendation. It’s our hope that once that recommendation arrives, a decision is finally made and we, as a community, can move forward once and for all. 

Number two – Council needs to put their money where their mouth is and at least show some signs of progression in its 2019 budget. The budgetary process begins later this month and, at present, the budget calls for a 4.13 percent tax levy increase. It should be noted that a portion of that increase is being attributed to the previous provincial government’s raising of the minimum wage to  $14 an hour. But in a new era of fiscal responsibility, we believe there is some room to trim the fat so to speak.

Much of the new council went on record to state they would go through the budget line by line to identify areas the municipality could look to save some money. To that, we say good. Bravo council. We hope to see some evidence of this, starting on Jan. 21. 

Actions speak louder than words, which brings us to our third point. Cooperation, or lack thereof, really was the achilles heel of our previous council. Again, all seven members of this new council spoke of their ability to put aside any and all differences and work together for the betterment of the community. With one meeting down, they have stayed true to their word. We hope the same can be said at their 32nd meeting next December.

And who else would like to see Hansen Boulevard finally completed in 2019? At present, the road has two highly inconvenient dead ends, cutting off what was designed to be a main thoroughfare for the community. The Citizen has, so far, been unable to narrow down if or when that particular project may become a reality – we’re calling on our council to surprise us and finish off the road at some point in 2019. 

Our final point is another money-saving exercise that’s likely to be a controversial one. Since the municipality took ownership of the 55-kilometre railway line that connects Orangeville to Streetsville in 2000, it is estimated the Orangeville Railway Development Corporation has lost approximately $8 million. 

That is money straight out of the taxpayer’s pocket. Today, it’s estimated the line costs the municipality $500,000 a year. Sure, it’s subsidized in part by local industry and there is talk of bringing back the popular Credit Valley Explorer tour train, but the bottom line is the railway isn’t paying for itself. In fact, it’s not even close to breaking even. There comes a time when you simply have to call a bad investment a bad investment and move on. We feel that time has long passed in this case.

What do you think this Council should be prioritizing in 2019? Send your thoughts to us at editor@citizen.on.ca.  



         

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