Nancy Atkinson answers questions about her presentation at the February 8, 2023 council meeting regarding the Windsor Police Contract Renewal.
the burg watch: Did you expect public consultations would be held prior to the decision to renew the Windsor Police Contract?
Nancy Atkinson: Yes and the fact that public consultation was to take place per initial agreement is stated in the report dated February 8, 2023 authored by CAO Valerie Critchley on page 4
the burg watch: What prompted you to attend the February 8 Council meeting?
Nancy Atkinson: I prefer to hear with my own ears the discussions leading up to very important decisions with regards to where our taxes are spent. Interpretations are not always fact.
the burg watch: You said you had lots of questions but you only asked one. Why?
Nancy Atkinson: As I was under the impression I was attending a Special Council meeting and not a public meeting as we had become accustomed to. Nowhere was it indicated that this was THE public meeting for input from the residents but rather just a Special Council Meeting. Since I had not submitted a deputation I limited my question to one. I also felt the decision had already been made and no matter what questions I would ask there was only one option open to us at this point in time. Surprisingly Councillor McArthur asked many of the questions on my list which should have at least led to a deferral until the March 31, 2023 expiry date with more pertinent questions asked to residents. They accepted a survey of a mere 300 residents as proof that residents were as Councillor McArthur put it satisfied with the status quo. Did they ask each of those 300 residents Have you had personal contact with the Windsor Police, Amherstburg Detachment before asking any other question? A minimum of double that number of residents weighed in at the original Public Meetings, the OPC hearing and in emails stating they were not in favour of the move.
the burg watch: During your presentation, you recalled the emphasis on Windsor Police Service’s specialized unit and wanted an explanation for the high statistics in one year.
Chief Bellaire acknowledged that you were correct in that the first year the Designated traffic officers in Amherstburg would have triggered that statistic to increase every time they put themselves out on a call. Were you satisfied with the Chief’s answer?
Nancy Atkinson: NO. They knew their statistics were wrong and used them anyway. WHY? We did not have 380 accidents requiring special investigation in 2019 in the town of Amherstburg. Nor did we have 375 incidents requiring the Investigative branch which covers fraud, arson, youth crime, auto theft in one year 2022 either. Anyone not knowing this and simply looking at this report at face value would presume these special units are necessary when in fact the lower more plausible stats prove otherwise. These numbers if used to prepare a new RFP COULD HAVE been costly to Amherstburg in looking at other policing options.
the burg watch: Are you impressed with the average annual savings of $348,000 highlighted during the meeting?
Nancy Atkinson: NO. Those pushing the Windsor Contract were adamant the savings would be $586,000 equivalent they said to $62.00 per household. Many offered to give them the $62.00 and keep the Amherstburg force a very strong indication they Did not want the change…. Mayor DiCarlo ignored them. So, NO 384,000 is not anywhere near adequate for what we lost. I BELIEVE an inventory of what was sent to Windsor should be made public, the true cost to switch to Windsor should have been in the current report and the cost to stay with Windsor should also have been in the report before any decision was made. If I hire someone to build me a house I don’t ask the price after I tell him to go ahead…..pretty simple.
the burg watch:: Were you surprised by the decision to renew the police contract?
Nancy Atkinson: Absolutely not. Residents who take the time to speak out in this town are not heard. Promises are not kept and decisions are not based on anything near common sense.
the burg watch: What would you like council to do before the June 30,2027 deadline to renew the second 5-year contract term?
Nancy Atkinson: Live up to the proposal and promise to the people of Amherstburg to put the savings from this move in the Police Reserves and not necessarily for our own Police Force 5 years from now when so much is needed now. But these funds belong in the police reserve and we do have current policing expenses such as benefits we cover, radios we are responsible for replacing, a building we own as well as the property it sits on that must be maintained at our expense. It would also remove our backs from against the proverbial wall where all our important decisions appear to be made.Under NO circumstance should it be used for the Fire Department.
the burg watch: Any other comments?
Nancy Atkinson: If we are to believe we can’t afford something as important as a community police model that goes into our schools, that worked with kids in the gym, that patrolled our Navy Yard Park on foot we CANNOT AFFORD nor should we be asking for 11 NEW HIRES no matter how sugar coated or rationalized it is especially since they are not actual workers in a department with the exception of a few labourers…. just more empire building.
The purpose of TAXES IS to provide services to a municipality. We have lost our Police Service, our Pool, ball diamonds, tennis courts, affordable sports for kids and YET NOT ONCE have our taxes gone down.
It takes $260,000 to raise taxes 1% and by the same token $260,000 to lower them. In order to have our own police department we are told it would cost us $384,000 over what we are paying now ….right since that is our savings…hmmm 1.5% increase. WHAT is the increase in asks in the current Budget????????
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