If it ever comes to pass … back in April
It could happen … with one competitor out of the game.
Seemingly, the flashing or animated signs are everywhere and Columbia’s taking on a border-town appearance.
Back in 2011, Columbia news, views & reviews posted this:
“Someone asked us about businesses with “flashing signs” in their windows.”
Guess what? According to the Borough code, those signs are not allowed.
“§ 220-53 Prohibited signs. The following signs are prohibited in all zoning districts: Flashing, blinking, twinkling, animated or moving signs of any type, except time and temperature signs may flash. In addition, flashing lights visible from a street shall not be used to attract attention to a business. This restriction specifically includes window signs …”
Funny thing is that (in 2011) we counted nearly a dozen of them around town (that includes more than a half dozen on one block of a main street.
Today, there are more signs.
Article about news release – LNP – Always Lancaster - “Columbia sewer plant may go green with $511,000 state loan“
Columbia news, views & reviews item – January 17
A loan arranger: “Columbia will receive a loan of more than $853,000 to help pay for the installation of a digester at the borough’s wastewater treatment center. The installation will cut the electrical use at the facility by about two-thirds, according to a state news release. The total project cost is about $1.2 million.” – Central Penn Business Journal
News release – January 14
Senator Ryan Aument - “Commonwealth Financing Authority Approves Funding Request for the Borough of Columbia -
“HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Financing Authority through the Alternative and Clean Energy Program has approved a loan request for The Borough of Columbia, according to state Senator Aument (R-36).
“Columbia Borough made the funding request to assist with the installation of an anaerobic digester at its wastewater treatment plant. The anaerobic digester will use hauled septage and food wastes and will generate biogas. The biogas will be used to fire a combined heat and power unit which is used to operate the facility and generate electricity to power the equipment within the treatment plant. The new system will reduce the facility’s current electrical average of 6,419 kWh to 2,436 kWh. The anaerobic digester is anticipated to offset approximately 2,200 kWh per year.
“‘I am encouraged by Columbia Borough’s willingness to undertake this project in renewable energy,’ Senator Aument said. ‘As a Commonwealth we need to continue to pursue a multi-faceted policy of energy independence.’
“Alternative and Clean energy program funds will be used for the purchase and installation of the anaerobic digester. The cost of the digester is $1,706,270. The Borough of Columbia will provide $1,194,389 in matching funds.”
School districts seem to get it! There are lots of ways that entities have available to communicate with share holders.
Today, for instance, the Columbia Borough School District’s Website spotlights the school delay in bold red letters.
“The Columbia Borough School District is operating under a two hour delay today.”
Jim Mackie, 65, formerly of Columbia, died in his sleep on Monday night.
A consummate antiques collector and merchant, Jim operated retail antique and collectible businesses in Columbia and at Renninger’s Market.
Jim is survived by his wife, Beth, two sons and his faithful dog.
Here’s a brief post about Jim’s business Columbia news, views & reviews posted in March 2011.
Collectibles abound at Mackie’s Mercantile
“We happened into Mackie’s Merchantile at 401 Locust Street last week. Owner, Jim Mackie, is brimming with enthusiasm as he recited the history of some of the collectibles we photographed. He has done his homework and he is eager to share background information on the collectible originals in the gallery.
Perhaps you’ve been reading the recent letters to the editor about the fire service in Manheim Township. In fact, two more appear in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster.
Here’s the story on the Manheim Township Fire Department from its Website:
In November of 2007, a presentation was made to the members of our three volunteer stations regarding the future direction of fire rescue services in Manheim Township. An on-line survey was used to gauge the response of our members. A decision was reached to begin the planning process f or creation of a 10-15 year strategic plan to guide the future actions of Manheim Township Fire Rescue.
In January of 2008 a 13 member Strategic Plan Steering Committee was selected. The Committee was comprised of three representatives from each volunteer fire rescue station, two citizens-at-large from the community, and two representatives from Manheim Township government. In addition, two non-voting members from the East Petersburg Fire Company were also on this committee. The Committee later expanded to include three members from the Manheim Township Ambulance Association as well. The Committee held public meetings on the second Thursday of every month in the Commissioners meeting room at the Township building.
After almost 18 months of work and over 10 draft documents, a presentation was made to the Board of Commissioners. After some revisions, negotiations, and funding changes, the final version of the Manheim Township Fire Rescue Strategic Plan was adopted by municipal resolution 2009-38 on August 10, 2009.
Blue Rock Fire Rescue‘s consolidation path is similar. ” … each fire company committed $25,000.00 to an operating fund in order to finance the project and demonstrate commitment to the effort” that resulted in the consolidation of four separate fire departments into one.
Columbia’s in the consolidation planning process now; the Columbia Borough Fire Department website was activated in the fall of 2013. There’s a TAB at the Website labeled “Public Education” – unfortunately, there’s no documentation on the process shown.
“Cities and towns in Pennsylvania that administer their own public pension systems have nearly $7.7 billion of unfunded future liabilities, according to a report on Wednesday from state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.” – Reuters
It’s not easy to see, but more than a few Lancaster County municipalities, including Columbia and its neighbors, are colored red. At the end of 2013, Columbia was rated as “minimally distressed” by the Public Employee Retirement Commission with $5,960,914 listed as assets and $7,659,790 as liabilities.
Click here to read the Auditor Generals report on the how and why’s of Pennsylvania’s 562 municipalities with administered pension plans that are “distressed” and underfunded by at least $7.7 billion.
This comment appears following an article at Cole Umber’s news and information site:
“Cola is landlocked & cannot add anymore taxpayers. The 10, 000 existing taxpayers will forever foot the increase in expenses of this town. There is only one direction our leaders should be going in & that is propositioning the state for help in consolidating with a surrounding community. There is no expert who can make the numbers work when only 10, 000 people are trying to support a school district, a police force, & all the associated municipal forces.
Anybody who tells you different is selling you a pipe dream.”
While it’s not easily possible to contrast municipalities with similarly-sized populations, here are some comparatives between two – Columbia and Waynesboro, PA – gleaned from Websites.
Pennsylvania has 176 municipalities ranging between 5,000 and 25, 000 people. Individual budgets seldom are consistent. Click on the links below see the budgets for each town.
Click on the links below to be directed to the municipal and police department Websites for each town.
Waynesboro has a higher tax millage rate; it uses a very outdated 1961 assessment model.
“Pennsylvania’s Tax Equalization Division (TED) (formerly PA State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) was established by the General Assembly in Act 447 PL 1046, 1947, to compensate for the lack of assessment uniformity statewide in distributing school subsidies.” A comparison of the municipalities listed a the 2013 report shows the property tax rate disparity.
In a 64 minute meeting that ended at 8:04 pm, Columbia’s seven borough councillors voted to override the mayor’s veto of the 2015 budget acceptance which will maintain the current property tax rate with no increase. No new police vehicle is in the budget.
Fewer than five citizens attended the meeting. The councillors, the mayor and the interim borough manager attended the meeting.