“in anonymus veritas” – another take on “in vino veritas”

The oft-cited Latin phrase, “in vino veritas” is translated roughly to “in wine there is truth; implying “people speak the truth when they are drunk.”

The internet is replete with anonymous commenters that would have one believe their statements are truthful and accurate. That’s not always the case.

For instance, this anonymous comment following a Columbia Spy post says, “The Boro has more than any calls in Lancaster County except the city itself. Most likely has to do with the thousands of transients that take the bus in Lancaster and move here and work the system. No one works, they fight, they hurt people, they may or may not partake in questionable activity…..the ‘system’ is broke.”

The 2014 County-wide Communications Police Dispatch report does not support that claim that “the Boro has more calls … ”

Another anonymous commenter says, The police budget in just a few short months will be 120% of the property taxes collected.”

This may be closer to truth. Anything, of course, is possible. Only a perfunctory assessment of the 2015 Columbia Boro 2015 general fund budget shows the police department operating expense budget is projected just under $2.8 million while property tax revenue is projected at $2.7 million. Of course there were no police cars allocated in the 2015 capital fund. Odd are, some police vehicles have been or will be purchased.

If the 2016 budget will have a police budget of 120% of property taxes collected, that’ll put the police department in the vicinity of $3.4 million (assuming property taxes remain at the 2015 projection). To get to a 120% of property taxes collected will mean a hellacious increase for police expenses or a reduction of revenue from property taxes.

Citizens can observe the 2016 budget deliberations by attending special budget meetings announced for October 20 and November 17.

Wouldn’t it be great for citizens to be able to have monthly budget numbers throughout the year – Lancaster County does.

Another anonymous commenter asks: “why do we have dispatchers? Why can’t all calls go through the 911 system? Carlisle wrestled with that a few years ago, the council there decided to transfer police dispatch functions to County Communications.

The topic of a study of Columbia’s police operations or law enforcement consolidation that drew the comments stems from this Lancaster Online article.

Interestingly, the county’s largest population borough, Ephrata, is moving to a de facto consolidation nearing negotiations to provide contracted policing services for nearby jurisdictions.

And in another county just upstream of here, “The number of police departments in Dauphin County may potentially shrink from 17 to as few as 5,” says this WITF article.

Curious facts: Ephrata’s Police Department’s Website does not show the mayor’s name atop the chain of command in the department; neither does New Holland’s nor Lititz’s – Columbia’s does.




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