Columbia Borough council meeting agenda – December 9

The Columbia Borough council chambers were decked out with poinsettias and holiday trappings for the the last regular borough council meeting of 2013. At just after 7:00 pm last night, the council president convened the meeting with all the councillors, except Jody Gable, in attendance. Also present was the borough manager, borough financial officer, the chief of police (sitting in for the mayor who was absent), the solicitor and the recorder; nearly a dozen persons were in the gallery, too.

Most of the gallery representatives were members of the Columbia Historic Market Trust who petitioned the council to reconsider its recent decision to not include a contribution to the Trust in 2014’s budget. The 2014 budget does include line-item contributions to approximately 10 not-for-profit entities and several of the Trust’s members and a citizen implored the councillors to reconsider their decision. The Trust handed the councillors a document itemizing 20 “community connections” thee Trust has initiated in 2013.

MH Trust document page one

MH Trust document page two

A lengthy discussion ensued; the council, however, did not budge nor offer to insert a line item for the Columbia Historic Market Trust.

The agenda is shown below.

Here are a few notes about the agenda items observed as the meeting progressed to its conclusion at 8:45 p.m.

  1. The 2014 budget was passed – NO TAX INCREASE.
  2. The council was unanimous in its vote for all the resolutions and ordinances on the agenda except for paragraphs II – 8 – d., e., and f. The vote in each of these was 5-1 with the council president casting dissenting votes.
  3. There was a clarification/correction made for agenda item II – 14 – a: The contribution of an “amount not to exceed $300” was approved to the Columbia Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) in concert with the Columbia Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) and the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce.
  4. The police chief reported that the department will get a new dog and begin a six-week training program for the officer/handler in early 2014. The new K-9 is slated to be ready in May. The dog is being obtained from the North East Police K-9 Academy, Inc. The chief said the new dog is a Belgian Malinois/shepherd mix. The North East Police K-9 Academy charges for dog and handler training are listed here.
  5. Mary Wickenheiser will be leaving the council at the end of the year.
  6. There was discussion about the council meeting of the whole which normally meets on the fourth Monday of the month. There seems to be an impetus to advertise a resolution on a borough Local Economic Revitalization Tax Act (L.E.R.T.A.) enactment which might serve as an example for the school board which is entertaining L.E.R.T.A. passage at its January 7 meeting.
  7. Council will have a “meeting of the whole” on the fourth Monday of December. Hopefully, said one councillor it’ll be brief.
  8. There will be an installation of the new borough council at a special organizational meeting on the first Monday in January – January 6, 2014. This meeting “is set by law as the first Monday in January of each even-numbered year. Council’s first official business at this meeting is to elect one of its members as president and one as vice president.”
  9. There was a student from Lancaster Catholic High School in the audience; the student has this as a requirement for LCHS government course. The solicitor let the student know that Columbia’s council meetings have always been true examples of democracy in action, albeit sometimes these examples have been “long.”

Agenda – page oneCouncil agenda 09 Dec page one


Agenda – page twoCouncil agenda 09 Dec page two

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