2016 Year in Review: March

January 5, 2017   ·   0 Comments

March 10, 2016

  Orangeville Council’s budget session Monday night was perhaps the most volatile of this term. The three-hour meeting ended with a proposed tax increase of 3.03 percent, with further meetings required to find a result that would be acceptable to council.

Unfortunately, the most compelling portion of the meeting was not necessarily what was or was not agreed on. Instead, the evening was an extraordinary experience for those residents who enjoy political theatre and colourful quotations from the protagonists.

Coun. Nick Garisto, the finance chair, wanted to complete the budget process on Monday (March 7) night. The balance of council did not feel their due diligence was complete regarding any provisions in the budget.

These two diametrically opposed forces would clash as the evening progressed. Chair Garisto operated the meeting in a dictatorial fashion, which saw him frequently admonishing other councillors and monopolizing the floor by sharing his elongated personal narratives.

The tactics employed by the chair created visible frustration around the council table. At one point, Mr. Garisto admonished Coun. Sylvia Bradley for laughing. He felt that her actions were disrespectful, while she refused to yield the floor, stating “We live in a democracy and (she) could do as she pleases.” Eventually, Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock declared “The media should report what kind of Gong Show this is.”

  FOCUS Accreditation has awarded family Transition Place (FTP) a four-year accreditation with a 100 percent scoring record.

The Orangeville-based not-for-profit charitable organization provides services to woman and children living in an abusive environment.

March 17, 2016

  The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission announced on March 16 that Elisabeth Boyd of Mono had won $100,000 with Encore on the March 12 Lotto 649 draw by matching six of seven winning numbers on her selection. She also won $5 for matching two of six numbers, plus the bonus number on her Lotto 649 selection.

  The Orangeville Jr. a Flyers finished up for the season following a losing five-game effort in their quarter-final playoff series against the Georgetown Raiders.

The end of the Flyers season came on Wednesday (March 9) in Georgetown when the Orangeville team was shutout 4-0 in the final game.

March 24, 2016

  After wrangling at six sessions over a period of nearly three months, Orangeville council on Monday (March 21) finally agreed on a 2016 Town budget that will require residential property owners to pay 1.6 percent more for the Town’s share of their property taxes.

The budget includes a 2.5 percent increase on the Town’s tax levy. When combined with the County of Dufferin tax rate and the provincial education rate, the average homeowner in Orangeville will see an increase of $77.57 on their 2016 property bills.

  Orangeville Council has asked for an investigation by Peel Regional Police into Mayor Jeremy Williams’ use of a Town-issued corporate credit card.

The request came following a routine end-of-year budget and accounts finalization, when it was determined that some of the expenses on the credit card had not been authorized by council motion. The credit card, routinely given to each new mayor when he or she takes office, is intended to pay for any expenses related to their duties.

  Little Sara Alhajali, weighing in at seven pounds, is the first baby to be born in Dufferin County from the Syrian immigration sponsorship initiative.

Sara arrived at 10:30 p.m. on March 10 at Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville.

  Norm Foster’s comedy/drama Mending Fences will open at Theatre Orangeville on March 31. It tells the story of a son returning to his father’s and the former family home – a Saskatchewan farm – after 20 years of estrangement. The whole tale takes place in the farmhouse kitchen with flashbacks to explain the origins of the alienation and present-day moments that will deal with a reconnection, for better or for worse.

March 31, 2016

  The Ontario government released the annual “Sunshine List” late last week. This year’s list was released just before the Easter long weekend, which seemed to keep most media outlet coverage and water cooler chatter to a minimum.

The Sunshine List became available for the first time in 1996. The Mike Harris government wanted to create a process that provided accountability and transparency. The act specifically reads “requires organizations that receive public funding from the Province of Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in a calendar year.

60 Orangeville employees were included in this year’s Sunshine list, with the highest paid individual being former Treasurer Brian Parrot, who received compensation of $182,000. Following behind him was the newly promoted Ed Brennan, who received a 34 percent increase to serve as the Town’s CAO with compensation of $163,000.

The Orangeville Police and Fire Departments were well represented on the Sunshine list. Chief Wayne Kalinski received $158,000, while Sgt. Douglas Fry earned $145,000. The highest paid firefighter was Michael Richardson, who earned $140,335 for his efforts, while Chief Andy MacIntosh made $140,128.

  Hydro One reports that a force of more than 1,200 men and women worked through the holiday weekend to restore power across the region and many parts of south-western and central Ontario as a result of the intense ice storm that hit the area last Thursday (March 24).

At the height of the crisis, the utility reported nearly 10,500 Orangeville-area customers were out of power. The Alliston area was his even harder, with 13,666 customers without power. All told, the freezing rain that hit the area caused outages affecting over 105,000 Hydro One customers. Broken poles, wires and tree branches, as well as further damaging high winds resulted in massive power outages throughout the area.

  The Orangeville Police Service investigated a reported fraud that resulted in a local victim being scammed out of more than $20,000.

On Monday, March 21, an 85-year-old Orangeville resident received a letter in the mail purported to be from Publisher’s Clearing House. Accompanying the letter was a cheque in the amount of $15,962.86. The letter advised the victim that $600,000 had been won and was waiting to be claimed.

On March 22, the victim complied with instructions to deposit the $15,962.86 cheque at the victim’s bank and then transfer $10,000 to another account at another financial institution. The vistim was then instructed to make additional deposits to other accounts.

The victim ended up forwarding another $12,815 for a total of $22,815. On March 29, the victim was advised that the cheque for $15,962.86 was found to be counterfeit.

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