A fundamental, and beautiful, aspect of representative democracy is that citizens can participate in the governmental process. Citizens elect representatives at all levels of government … local, county, state and federal … to enact the laws that protect them and provide other government services for them. Citizens have the right to petition the representatives and to attend the government hearings and meetings to engage in meaningful discourse about possible legislation.
It is a fundamental right and responsibility. Citizens must participate in the process; if they do not receive input from the people they represent, elected “public servants” will make decisions predicated on their personal, informed ideas about the legislation they are considering. Hopefully, their decisions will be directed by a higher sense of benefitting the majority of the citizens they represent.
However there are cases in which the elected “public servants” cast their votes for purposes other than the public good, either innocently or because there is benefit or gain. The point is: Citizens must become involved in the process!
During last night’s Public Property committee meeting, a citizen voiced his concerns about the “two foot setback” ordinance that was passed by council several months ago. The citizen said that he was speaking personally and representing the displeasure of other property owners as well.
In March, we included this news item at Columbia, news, views and reviews:
Intelligencer Journal/New Era, Lancaster … March 30 … “Columbia imposes setback for fences” BY TERESA BONO, Correspondent. The article describes the actions discussed and the subsequent approval of a Borough ordinance at the March Borough Council Meeting. “Columbia Borough Council approved an ordinance March 14 requiring homeowners who are installing new fences to leave a 2-foot space inside their property line for maintenance.” The article appears on B6.
Earlier in the month, we posted the agenda, with the agenda item of fence lines included, from the March meeting: (http://columbianewsandviews.com/2011/03/14/march-borough-council-meeting-agenda/)
And you can read each month’s council meeting agenda and minutes at the borough website; here are the agenda and minutes for that meeting (http://psabcontent.com/columbiapa/content/3-14-11%20Boro%20Cncl%20Meeting%20Minutes.pdf). [NOTE: to see the minutes, scroll past the agenda.]
Here are the agendas for last night’s council committee meetings – Legislation and Public Property.
- legislation committee agenda July ”The Committee on Municipal Legislation shall, in conjunction with the Solicitor and the Borough Manager, examine all proposed ordinances that may be submitted to it in advance of consideration by the Council and may recommend such changes and amendments affecting the form, validity and substance thereof as may be proper or necessary; shall supervise the proper recording, publishing and posting of ordinances; shall attend to all duties which may properly be referred to such Committee by Council and shall comply with all rules and procure the enforcement of all laws and ordinances affecting municipal form and procedure. Legislation meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 6:00 pm. Committee Members: Sandy Duncan – Chair; Mike Beury - Vice-Chair; James Smith – Member; Mary Barninger – Alternate” (SOURCE: www.columbiapa.net)
- public property committee agenda July ”The Committee on Public Property shall, in conjunction with the Borough Manager, care for and supervise all public buildings and real estate and, subject to the rights of lessees and duties of the Committees on Public Safety and Markets, shall manage and control the same; shall keep a record of all insurance in force on public buildings and shall report to Council in advance all policies about to expire; shall permit no person, corporation or association to become or remain a tenant of Borough property unless a proper and adequate lease is executed; shall attend to all duties which may properly be referred to such Committee by Council and shall comply with and enforce the requirements of all laws and ordinances relating to public property. The committee meets on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm. Committee Members: James Smith – Chair; Mary Wickenheiser – Vice-Chair; Renae Sears – Member; Sandy Duncan – Alternate. (SOURCE: www.columbiapa.net)
Citizens are invited to attend any borough council committee meetings to hear proposals, issues, arguments and participate by contributing comments, concerns and observations. Here is an overview of some of the topics discussed at last night’s meetings:
Here is an overview of some of the topics discussed at last night’s meetings:
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm by chairperson Sandy Duncan; all members of the committee were present. Additionally, the borough manager, mayor, several councilors and a handful of citizens were present. There were no citizen comments and the minutes from the June committee meeting were not available.
- S.A.L.D.O. (Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance). According to the Borough of Columbia Website: “Compliance with Chapter 190, Subdivision and Land Development. If an application under this chapter would also be regulated by the Borough Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (“SALDO”), then any permit or approval under this chapter shall automatically be conditioned upon compliance with the SALDO. See the definitions of “land development” and “subdivision” in the SALDO. For example, if an applicant applies for a single-family detached dwelling on a proposed new lot, the construction permit for such dwelling shall not be valid until after the lot is granted final subdivision approval and the lot is officially recorded by the County Recorder of Deeds.” The topic was tabled for further committee review.
- Airport Approach Ordinance. The Borough is developing the airport approach ordinance for inclusion into the borough codes, though approvals and study is required by the borough’s staff engineer. Since Carl Rundquist has submitted his resignation effective July 15, 2011, this has been tabled. [NOTE: Rundquist was recently hired by the borough but has accepted a position for which he had applied earlier and is located closer to where he maintains a home. ”Chambersburg, PA — Carl Rundquist, a Chambersburg resident, was identified as the new Antrim Township public works director at the Board of Supervisors meeting June 28. Rundquist will begin work July 18 at a salary of $70,000. That makes him the highest-paid employee in the township. Antrim administrator Brad Graham said the wage was deemed appropriate because of Rundquist’s background and experience. He formerly worked for the Borough of Chambersburg and is now employed in another community. He is a certified engineer and a certified wastewater and water plant operator. ‘We hope he’ll be able to work with our engineers more closely, and be able to engineer small projects in-house,’ said Graham. ‘He has experience doing that.’ Online newspaper archives refer to Rundquist from at least 2007 until 2010 as the Chambersburg water and sewer department superintendent. (SOURCE: Copyright 2011 Echo Pilot. Some rights reserved)
(to be continued tomorrow)