Be decisive. Vote OPP

November 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

During the last few years, many residents in Orangeville have argued that the town’s residential households are among the highest taxed in Ontario with the most substantial portion of our taxes being used to pay the police.

Despite our rapidly growing tax bills, revisiting the police costing appears to have become a contentious issue in Orangeville.

As the authors of this letter and attached flyer, we are business owners, residents, volunteers, service club members, and local participants who engage in the community regularly. We talk to customers and colleagues and are active community and political volunteers, all of which exposes us to a variety of opinions and conversations. We believe the Town is not as divided on this issue as some would like you to think.

This council was elected by the citizens of the town to save our tax dollars. Consider this:

• The 2014-18 council requested a quote from the OPP which pitted councillors, officers, and residents against each other and was well documented by local media. This review included concerns about lack of mandatory training, the editing of an interview transcript before publishing after The Orangeville Banner reported officers were afraid to speak up, and of course, the Citrusville blog making fun of OPS from the inside which was carried by major news sources;

• According to Orangeville’s own CAO Ed Brennan: Between now and 2021, the OPS is slated to charge the Town in the region of $28 million for its policing services. Under the terms of an obligatory three-year transitional contract with the OPP, the municipality will be billed just over $27.5 million for a total savings of $385,000. Once transitioned into the OPP’s new billing model, the annual savings of $4.3 million per year kick in. The municipality could see accumulated savings of $22 million by 2025. (Town CAO Ed Brennan recommends that council select OPP, July 1, 2017, Orangeville Citizen);

• Despite public input, the previous Council voted in favour of keeping OPS; 

• Keeping the door open, former Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock was recorded as stating: “I think having the electorate decide this issue in the 2018 election is the right way to go. Quite clearly, some of the town wanted the OPP and some of them wanted OPS. But with only 16 months to go, there were no cost savings to make the move tonight, the election will be fought over the issue and based on that the electorate will get what they want.” (Orangeville taxpayers should be angry, Jun 13, 2017, Orangeville Banner);

• Police costing, lawsuits, internal investigations, and the Police Services Board have been an issue for several election cycles and promises of change have still not been realised.

If the cost of policing is to become more sustainable, we have to discuss how to save money through gains in efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity without compromising quality, all the while preparing the Town for everyone’s future needs of other kinds.

Although some residents like the idea of having their own police force, public safety, presence, and cost are among the highest concerns moving forward. Special interest groups have been happy to stoke public fears about safety with hyperbolic statements and disinformation under the guise of community service and leadership.

Emotions run high when change is introduced. Personal stories offer very few solutions for the broader problem which must be to serve the majority of the community. The only outcome of these groups has been to limit participation, prevent evidence-based conversations and effective questioning, and has NOT ensured the real representation of all residents.

We hope this council will make a clear and decisive decision in 2019, one which respects the ratepayers and residents. We hope this council will have the fortitude to step up and manage change proactively instead of being forced into it later in a disruptive manner that will hurt our residents and leave a negative mark on our community.

Concerned Orangeville taxpayers

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