Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Other council business

Here are some other things that happened at last night's meeting:
* Todd Kramer questioned the council when two fire damaged buildings on North Second Street at Poplar street might be demolished so he can rent out two buildings he owns near the fire scene.
Borough Manager Norm Meiskey said it won't be long before the buildings will be demolished legally.
* Heather McDonald thanked the council for changing the street sweeping in the 100 block of Locust Street.
She also asked how long vehicles can be parked on properties.
* Frank Doutrich asked why a dead end area of Seventh and Poplar streets was paved and also how many projects are on council's plate to be completed.
* Tabled a maintenance agreement between Columbia, West Hempfield and Wrightsville for the Route 462 Bridge lighting project.
* Approved hiring a part-time janitor for up to 19 hours a week, Anna Gerlitzki voted against the motion.
* Appointed Jonathan Lutz as an alternate member of the Zoning Board.
* Approved a request from the St. Paul's Missionary Baptist Church for the use of Makle Park this weekend for a basketball tournament and church service.
* Reappointed Mark Zeamer to the Tree Commission and noted there are vacant seats on the commission, the Planning Commission and the HARB Board for an architect.

Advertising at River Park

Saw this sign posted Sunday at River Park. Is this legal?

Turkey Hill happy!

Usually at borough council meetings, members of the council and management often times have a bottle of water or soda in front of them during meetings. Monday night, just seemed kind of odd that those sitting at the head table were sipping Turkey Hill iced tea out of Turkey Hill coasters!
Is Turkey Hill tea now the official drink of Columbia Borough!

Was it a better meeting?

Over the first five or six months of this year, there has been plenty of discussion at Columbia Borough Council meetings on how the meetings were being conducted by President Mary Wickenheiser.
Public comment was limited and there was to be no interaction like in the past between citizens, council members and staff. Questions would be answered at the end of a citizen's comment and if the citizen had a follow up question to a response, they would have to wait a month to answer the question.
It created a lot of tension and mistrust among members of council and those attending meetings.
Monday night, the tension was gone and the meeting went off without a hitch.
Council President Wickenheiser was on vacation and Mary Barninger, council's vice-president ran the meeting.
There was give and take between council and the citizens and a relaxed mood at the meeting.
"It is obvious you (Barninger) don't agree with the way the meetings were being run before and I applaud you for it," said Frank Doutrich to Barninger during the citizen's comment portion of the meeting.
After answering a multitude of questions from Doutrich, Barninger said she likes the format being used Monday night.
"I like to give the folks the benefit of doubt and as long as there is respect and the meetings are orderly that's how I'll run the meeting," Barninger said.
Mayor Leo Lutz said he has spoken to Wickenheiser about changing the way meetings are conducted.
"She was considering it as long as there were some guidelines and I thought we were going back to that," Lutz said.
"I guess the council president didn't discuss the changes with the rest of council," the mayor said.

A question and some answers at the market

About two weeks ago, after a special meeting of Columbia Borough Council, COLUMBIA TALK learned of the resignation of Brian Long as Market Manager.
Two days later, Long was still in command at the market and issued a "no comment" about his future.
Monday night, resident Frank Doutrich asked about Long's status as Market Manager and what happened.
"Tell us what is going on?" Doutrich asked.
Kelly Murphy, who chairs council's market committee did in fact confirm Long resigned as of July 16 and an ad seeking Long's replacement appeared in the Lancaster Sunday News.
"He has agreed to stay on as acting manager," Murphy said of Long.
Murphy said council is trying to move forward with the market, but did not say what caused Long to resign.

Meter prices are being changed

Well, if you have been downtown recently and parked at the meters, you've probably noticed Columbia is enforcing the meter laws to a T. Monday through Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m.to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
You've probably been one of those ticketed.
Well, get ready for another change in the very near future.
Once the meters are cleaned, calibrated and signs changed, it will cost you more to park.
Now, with the exception of an area near the post office, it costs 25 cents to park for an hour. Once the above changes are made, it will cost 25 cents to park for 30 minutes.
Council members Mary Barninger and Anna Gerlitzki voted against the change.

More Code Enforcement concerns are expressed

It seems kike no matter the meeting, there are also concerns expressed about the borough's efforts in code enforcement. Monday night's borough council meeting was no exception.
Tim Swartz told members of the council he was talking with one of the borough's new code enforcement officers last Friday, who was answering a complaint. Swartz said the official told him, he was asked to "back off" on issuing citations because the staff in the office was low.
"We're only suppose to issue citations if we get phone calls," Swartz was told.
"This is very discouraging, We need to enforce these codes with zero tolerance. Why would this person tell me this?" Swartz asked.
"If we can't enforce our codes, having extra people doesn't mean a thing," Swartz said.
"If we are going to revitalize this town, this is not the way to do this and this is an issue that needs to be addressed," Swartz said.
Swartz also spoke of an apartment on Locust Street where 11 children and two adults were residing.
Mary Barninger, who served as acting council president for the meeting, was surprised to hear Swartz' information
"We need to immediately look into this," she said.
"This is ridiculous," said Borough Manager Norm Meiskey.
Mayor Leo Lutz said the borough has been working with the Columbia School District and others to get a handle on living problems. Lutz said 71 disruptive conduct reports have been written in the last year concerning tennant issues in Section 8 areas and four people have been taken off the Section 8 lists.
"We are cracking down on this," Lutz said.