17512 Columbia

neighbors are talking fire service consolidation

In Everyday Living, Lists, Opportunities on November 27, 2014 at 8:16 am

mountville fd The president’s message on page two of the Mountville Fire Company’s FALL/WINTER 2014 newsletter is about fire service traditions, the decline of volunteers and, yes, consolidation of human and equipment resources.

Mountville Fire Company No. 1 has recently entered into “preliminary talks” with West Hempfield Fire and Rescue; Hempfield Fire Company; Rohrerstown Fire Company and East Petersburg Fire Company to consolidate resources to build a formidable fire fighting organization.

The aggregated area covered by these separate entities is significantly greater than 2.7 square miles.



today’s news … Thursday, November 27, 2014 – Thanksgiving Day

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2014 at 6:03 am

today’s news and information gleanings from here and there!

Quote for today… “From now on I’m thinking only of me.” – a line from Joseph Heller’s classic, Catch 22.

  • The above thought must have run through lots of minds of some folks at the Monday meeting. Here’s the line in context:

“‘From now on I’m thinking only of me.’

“Major Danby replied indulgently with a superior smile: ‘But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way.’

“‘Then,’ said Yossarian, ‘I’d certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn’t I?’”


  • “Thanksgiving Day invites us to reflect on the blessings we enjoy and the freedoms we cherish.  As we gather with family and friends to take part in this uniquely American celebration, we give thanks for the extraordinary opportunities we have in a Nation of limitless possibilities, and we pay tribute to all those who defend our Union as members of our Armed Forces.  This holiday reminds us to show compassion and concern for people we have never met and deep gratitude toward those who have sacrificed to help build the most prosperous Nation on earth.  These traditions honor the rich history of our country and hold us together as one American family, no matter who we are or where we come from.” – The first paragraph of President Obama’s 2014 Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Tranquil vistas at Jonal Gallery on Fourth Friday tomorrow evening.



  • Last Thursday, we asked “Why isn’t the Christmas Tree Lighting announcement on the Borough Website?” Well, doggone, it’s there now.

wh closed

  • West Hempfield Township’s offices are closed today and tomorrow according to the “home page” of its Website; Columbia’s citizens won’t know whether the borough offices are open or closed if they look at Columbia’s Website. At least, there’s no mention of a closing at the Website home page. Ought people think the borough’s open for business on the day after Thanksgiving? The disdain for open communication and transparency with community shareholders continues.


fuzzy math to lower personal property taxes

In Education, Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, Opportunities, People, Uncategorized on November 26, 2014 at 4:46 pm

At Monday night’s meeting, a local business person suggested that a one percent increase to the Pennsylvania State sales and use tax would obviate the need to have or increase personal property taxes to pay for schools.

While not a fiscal giant in any sense, here is our quick look at that suggestion.

additional 1 percent sales tax

We calculate that adding one percent to the current sales tax application would generate about $128,000,000 dollars of new revenue. If all of that revenue would be “contributed” to the Department of Education for redistribution back to the school districts across the state, it might represent an estimated 2.32 percent increase for each school, ostensibly. Here’s the education breakdown in the 2014-2015 budget.

That would assume that all businesses collect the tax, report the tax and send the tax revenue to the state. Most likely, you, too, have seen businesses not charge tax nor give you a receipt showing the tax paid for purchases you’ve made. Here’s the sales and use tax stipulations that businesses in Pennsylvania and Columbia are supposed to follow.

That would assume that all the money would be used for property tax relief by redirecting the funds to the school districts.

school spendingSOURCE: openpagov.org

That would assume that the school systems would not add more expenses to use these “windfall” revenues. We tend to see folks who get new money continue to find new ways to spend new money. There seems to be no accounting for getting money without examining or allocating funding for future resultant expenses predicated on the ones embraced. There just seems to be finding new ways to spend and no consideration for “future costs” such as maintenance, salary and benefit increases, unplanned expenses, etc. If you keep spending there’s never enough money.

That would recognize that the increased “new revenue” is overstated because folks buying stuff in Philadelphia and Allegheny County already pay at least 7% sales tax.

States’ new budgets are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did six years ago — often far less.”

There are those who have climbed aboard the “increase the sales and use tax and expand the taxable items” bandwagon. The Pennsylvania Taxpayers Cyber Coalition’s proposal shows the expanded tax scenario and also includes a “modest increase in the state income tax from the current 3.07% to 4.34%.” That’s a 41% increase, incidentally.

And all this might provide relief as long as there’s continued employment and spending and younger Pennsylvanians stop moving out of Pennsylvania.

Oh, yeah, last December, Pennsylvania’s sales tax and income tax revenues were under expectations.

And this Harrisburg Patriot-News article shows the kind of results when revenues don’t match the “rose-colored lens” optimism that only those in governance see when they spend other people’s money.



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