Mayor Williams sees challenges ahead, sticks to budget promise

December 3, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Monday night marked the beginning of the next chapter of Orangeville’s political leadership, as the town’s new Mayor, Jeremy Williams, Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock and five councillors were sworn in at Orangeville’s inaugural council meeting.

“Change is as inevitable as it is challenging,” said Mayor Williams in his first official speech as Mayor. “Voters chose a new direction; respect that. To respect the voters’ wishes is to respect democracy itself. There is no other option. Voters wanted a change, they voted for a change, and a change we must provide.”

The new council was sworn in by Ontario Court Justice Doug Maund during the ceremony, which took place in the Town Hall Opera House Monday night.

From 2014-2018, the new council serving the town of Orangeville will include Councillors Sylvia Bradley, Gail Campbell and Scott Wilson, and newly elected councillors Don Kidd and Nick Garisto.

Although this new council brings in a range of personalities, beliefs and viewpoints, Mayor Williams spoke to the power of diversity and its capability to create positive change.

“Differences can divide or differences can inspire; differences can challenge,” he said. “Canada is built on diversity. From the beginning our country has grown stronger and grown richer from diversity. From our diversity has grown the greatest country on the planet.”

He added that their biggest challenge will come from that diversity, and how this new council chooses to face it.

“Do we succumb to the easy path towards disagreement or seize the opportunity to build on the differences that can unite us?” he asked. “We must strive to build upon that which makes us different, to build a future far better than can be built on any one position alone.”

During his speech, Mayor Williams assured residents that he will continue to pursue the goals of his platform, particularly regarding the issues surrounding the upcoming budget decisions and expenditures.

“I don’t feel we need to slash and burn, nor can we sustain the current trend in budget growth,” he said. “A careful and deliberate pulling back on the reins of spending is the prudent path forward. On our first budget of our term together, we’ve been instructed by our citizens to not increase our budget. To ignore the wishes of the electorate is political suicide; do that at your own peril.”

He also pointed out that producing a budget that does not require some small sacrifices is not possible, but that he has confidence the council will be able to make the best decisions to move forward.

Another hot topic that was part of Mayor Williams’ platform and remains a goal is to work on repairing the relationship between the Orangeville Police, Town Council and the Police Services Board.

“Through dialogue and communication comes cooperation,” said Mayor Williams. “I look forward to helping forge that new relationship between our future Police Chief, the PSB, the Orangeville Police Association, our council and our citizens.”

According to the Mayor, residents have made it known that they would like council to take a fresh look at what they do and the way they provide services.

“To do this, we ourselves must look at things from a new perspective,” said Mayor Williams. “The best way to do this it to present my council members with fresh portfolios and new committees.”

This term’s new councillors, Don Kidd and Nick Garisto, also spoke to their confidence in the success they believe is possible moving forward.

“This is an exciting night for me to be sworn in as a councillor in Orangeville,” said Councillor Kidd. “Through the next four years there will be many difficult decisions that must be made, but with the members of council that were elected, I feel the right choices will be made.”

Councillor Garisto also spoke on the difficult decisions and echoed the Mayor’s discussion on the council members’ differences and how they will choose to work through those differences.

“I made promises during my election campaign, and I’m a man of my word; I will stick to those promises,” said Councillor Garisto. “I’m looking forward to working with the new Mayor and the rest of council. I know we are going to have our differences around the table, but they key question here is how are we going to deal with those differences? At the end of the day when the vote is taken, we must move on to the next issue, to make this town better and to make this town more affordable.”

The decision to bring the council meeting to an end, in order to take time to celebrate the inaugural session, was a unanimous one, making it the first ‘decision’ of the new term.

“I know [my council] has the potential to excel in whatever they are given,” said Mayor Williams. “I hope they embrace the changes a new term will bring to them. For our staff, I say I look forward to working together to build a better future; not just for our town, but for your own personal goals.

“The best relationship is where both sides win. There will be changes, but more of an evolution than a revolution.”

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