Town Council votes down purchase of new $50,000 bike

November 16, 2016   ·   0 Comments

In a slightly bizarre series of events, Orangeville Council voted to deny a request from the Police Services Board to transfer almost $50,000 from the municipality’s 2016 operating budget to the 2016 capital budget to support purchase of a new police motorcycle.

The transfer was approved unanimously by the Orangeville Police Services Board (OPSB) on Oct. 18 and Coun. Gail Campbell, one of the Town’s representatives on the board, said she was “blown away” that council would deny such a request.

“I cannot even begin to believe that council is saying no to this request. My understanding was that this was simply a house cleaning issue and was coming before council as a formality,” Coun. Campbell said. “What we’ve just seen here is council deciding what equipment police need and deciding what equipment police can use. This is wrong.”

Mayor Jeremy Williams, another of the Town’s representatives on the OPSB, agreed, stating he was struggling to understand why such a request would be turned down by council.

“In the Municipal Act it quite clearly states that councils are not to interfere in matters like this. If the police chief says this is something that’s needed and the police services board says yes,” it should be a done deal, he said, adding, “It’s mystifying to me that we wouldn’t support our police and make this purchase.”

Coun. Sylvia Bradley was one of those to vote against the request, saying she doesn’t understand why the police service is asking for a new motorcycle when it doesn’t use the one it currently has.

“I don’t think they’ve had the motorcycle they currently have in operation for a number of years, so I’m not going to be supporting this,” Coun. Bradley said. “I think this is a nice-to-have, but not a must-have or a necessity. As far as must-haves go [for the Town], this would pretty much be at the bottom of the list.”

Coun. Don Kidd agreed, saying that $50,000 was a “lot of money” to spend on a motorcycle.

Coun. Campbell was quick to respond to Coun. Bradley’s comments, noting the current motorcycle was “very well used” in the past but was not currently in working order. She again highlighted that Chief Wayne Kalinski had indicated to the OPSB that this purchase was “really important” to Orangeville police.

“This isn’t just a nice-to-have, this is something our police chief believes is really important and I’m not going to second-guess him on that. I think it’s important that we use the funding when it’s there,” Coun. Campbell said.

Coun. Scott Wilson joined Coun. Bradley and Coun. Kidd in turning down the purchase and was keen to point out that the municipality had recently set a precedent for turning down a local emergency service provider’s request for additional funding.

“I’d just like to take this time to remind council that we recently rejected the recommendations of our local fire chief to add four new firefighters,” Coun. Wilson said. “With six weeks to go until the end of the year, I think it would be wise for the Police Services Board to go back and look at the acquisitions it has planned on the capital side of the 2017 budget” to see whether there was room for  the purchase to be funded there.

The eventual vote to support the purchase resulted in a tie, with councillors Kidd, Wilson and Bradley against the request and Coun. Campbell, Mayor Williams and Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock voting in favour. Coun. Nick Garisto was absent from the vote. In the event of a tie, any motion is seen as having failed.

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