Council delays vote on policing, OPP to present again on Monday

May 12, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Orangeville Council will hear from the Ontario Provincial Police one final time before making a definitive decision on the future of policing in the community.

OPP representatives will be on hand at a special council meeting this coming Monday (May 15) to provide further clarity on its hazy new provincial billing model. This comes after several local residents demanded “solid numbers” from the OPP at the policing public information session at Orangeville District Secondary School on April 27.

To date, the only financial details council and the community at large have seen beyond an initial three-year transitional contract the OPP presented in February are estimates made by Town Treasurer Marc Villeneuve, which he provided on April 3. In those estimates, the Treasurer indicated the Town could stand to save as much as $4.5 million annually should it choose to disband the Orangeville Police Service and switch to the provincial model.

Many within the community have had their say regarding the validity of those numbers, including Mayor Jeremy Williams. At last month’s public information session, OPP representatives said they “would not stand behind” the figures presented in the Treasurer’s report but admitted they had studied the summary and “do not disagree with the methodology” used.

At the conclusion of that session Linda Davis, a contract analyst with the OPP, offered to return to Orangeville at a later date to further explain its new billing model. On Monday, Coun. Sylvia Bradley called on Council to take up that option, saying it was important to find out as much about the OPP’s system as possible before making a final decision.

“This is all about information. I don’t think you can ever have too much information and so I think it’s important for the OPP to come out and explain their new billing model in a more simple format,” Coun. Bradley said.

Mayor Williams, a vocal supporter of the OPS, disagreed, instead asking that Council put the decision to vote that night, despite the absence of Coun. Scott Wilson – who has stated publicly that he will be siding “with the savings” and voting for the OPP.

“I would like to make a motion that we cease with this OPP costing process and continue with our OPS. I really think this has been kicked around long enough… The OPP has had many chances to present all of their information, if we bring them in again I swear to you they’re going to defer us to their website and some web-based tool” to calculate the numbers Council wanted, Mayor Williams said. “From my point of view, I feel for the people that just want to know, that just want an answer one way or another.”

He seemed to be alone in his desire to put the issue to bed right away, with councillors Don Kidd and Gail Campbell seemingly in agreement that one final session with the OPP would be beneficial before putting the subject to a vote. The OPS has also been invited to attend and provide any new or relevant information to council.

In what was his first council meeting for almost four months, Coun. Nick Garisto said he was “not totally convinced” at the savings the Town is projected to make under the OPP’s new billing model, saying he hopes the provincial representatives in attendance next week bring some “real numbers” to the table.

“I want to see it in black and white what the costs are going to be in year four, year five, year six, etc.,” Coun. Garisto said. “I recall when this issue came to council several years ago, I stood at the podium as a local resident and businessman and told council of the day ‘don’t vote for change’. We get good service from our local police force.”

Council voted down Mayor Williams’ motion to put the issue to vote, with Coun. Kidd, Campbell and Bradley along with Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock in saying no. Coun. Garisto voted alongside the mayor, seemingly prepared to make a decision without another information session.

The presentation of the OPP’s new billing model will take place at Town Hall on Monday, May 15, starting at 7 p.m.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.