Today’s news … Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Today’s news and information gleanings from here and there.

Today’s quote … “Optimism is the opium of the people.” – Milan Kundera

Another quote …Is he an idiot? We just hosted the Democratic National Convention!” – Former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell commenting on a dumass statement by RWNC rich guy and wanna’ be Pennsylvania Governor, in this John Baer column at

bagged metersAnd not last year nor the year before that or the year before that … sigh!

  • Last night’s Council meeting agenda was the template for the last scheduled council meeting of 2016. Council President Kelly Murphy convened the meeting at 7:05 pm at the Borough Hall’s council chambers.
  • Present at the meeting were around 20 persons in the gallery as well as all the councillors, except Stephanie Weisser and Dr. Sherry Welsh. Weisser has tendered her resignation and discussion about that was an agenda item, however, the council tabled that agenda item until the scheduled January 2017 meeting.
  • The meeting was concluded at 9:58 pm; it was interrupted with a called “executive session” that lasted 24 minutes. The executive session had to do with a discussion about a possible real estate issue.

elite-trolleyElite Coach of Ephrata initiated a contact with Kathy Hohenadel at the Susquehanna Chamber of Commerce to let her know that the company had a trolley for sale. The call came after Hohenadel subsequently informed the borough’s Community Development committee chairperson about the offer. Several councillors and borough staff made the trip to Ephrata to see, inspect and drive the outfitted trolley (with a 1993 Cummins engine). The trolley is a “classic” with only 53,000 miles. The borough will pay $39,900 for the trolley.

rivertowne-trolley“A great collaboration with SVCC & Columbia Boro!” a photo from the Rivertowne Trolley Company facebook page.

  • The council voted to hire a new full-time Manager of Code Enforcement and Storm Water Management. Pending background checks, they voted to hire Steven M.  Kaufhold, a Columbia native who now resides in Wrightsville. Kaufhold did own a construction business; he is a United States Army veteran.
  • We’ll pay more for gas starting January 1, but last night Columbia’s councillors agreed to a proposal by the Public Works Director to buy and install a holding tank for gas and a card reader with the promise that Columbia’s fleet expenses for fuel would be substantially lowered.
  • The mayor and a councillor both want to make (or have made) contact to involve State Senator Ryan Aument, State Representative David Hickernell and political heavyweights to get conversations started to get the school tax situation abated. The background noise, of course, is to have the school district be absorbed into another district.

Again, Columbia news, views & reviews reminds readers that we audio record meetings in accordance with Pennsylvania State Law. To learn first hand what happens at meetings, citizens should attend meetings. Otherwise, the citizens and stakeholders are subject to the edited versions of what happened. Readers may ask for a copy of the digital recording of council meetings – send an email to to inquire how to get the digital file.

  • An article in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster says Toys For Tots needs more toys. The Customers at the Black Olive Family Diner have been doing their job. Black Olive owner, Mike, beamed and told us that three Toys For Tots boxes have already been filled with Customer donated toys. Probably an oversight, The Black Olive is not listed as a toy donation point at the TFT Website. Take a toy to The Black Olive today – support the Toys For Tots program.


  1. If the decisions of acquiring land or buying a trolley were discussed in a public forum, not behind closed doors. The trolley purchase was not on the agenda, and a quick decision because a salesman said they have another buyer.

    Well I decided to make a phone call to another trolley owner and he states ” Elite Coach called him up last week and offered the trolley to him”. Sounds like someone got the old salesman pitch like buying a car. The trolley owner also gave me some very good information on costs of operation. He said an average driver with a clean record will cost at least $20 per hour, liability insurance, DOT Certifications, drug tests (monthly), diesel fuel and a air conditioning unit that will suffer through hot weather due to age (obsolete a/c unit).

    So before you send two Columbia Borough employees to inspect a trolley, make sure they check the rear main seal on the Cat motor that is prone to leak, and costs $5,000 to fix.

    Let’s get back to the possible cost per year for taxpayers. Driver at $20.per/ 30 hrs per wk/ 14 wk season = $8400 per yr. Diesel fuel at a 2.50 per gal/ 56 days/ 10 mil per gal= $1400 per year fuel cost. Maintenance per year with oil changes/ air filter/ labor hrs/ tires will costs at least $1,000 per year. PA Licencing and liability insurance will cost a good $2,000.

    So my calculation could be give or take 5% on costs per year. The total for taxpayers: $12,800 per year. The trolley will have to secure an average 7200 riders per year to break even at $3.00 per rider.

    Dummy me! I forgot to add in the cost of the trolley at $39,900. Well taxpayers this could take a while to make a profit.

    • It’s a sad state when folks have to resort to lying – and an even sadder state – when citizens accept that “elected (or in many cases, appointed or hand-picked) public servants” just mask the truth, distort the truth or just flat-out lie.

      In the 1950s, Adlai Stevenson said, ” “I offered my opponents a deal: if they stop telling lies about me, I will stop telling the truth about them.”

      “Politicians distort the truth more often, use more self-justifications and deceive in larger ways, and with more consequences, experts in psychology and political science say.” –

  2. I am so sorry! This trolley will have a 5.9 Cummins Turbo in this model. I am not a Turbo girl, but do not have a spending problem.

  3. Earlier this year, I asked about meter bags for business owners. Some owners have to carry items for some distance in order to avoid feeding the meter. Others told me that when they are inside on the phone with customers it is easy to lose track of the time and end up with a ticket. Columbia wants business and if a business decides to set up shop here, it would seem reasonable that they could have a “worry free” parking space. Not that it would actually be “free”, they would pay a flat rate per month to have the meter bag. When they leave, the bag is removed. I was told that this idea would take parking from patrons and that it may involve too many businesses. I was also told that Columbia already has bags that were made and printed, but are not being used. So the expense of buying the bags is not an issue. To my knowledge it was never discussed again.

  4. I cannot find any minutes online from the November Committee on Community Development. The October minutes do not reflect any trolley discussion. Was the topic of a trolley purchase ever taken before the committee prior to the vote?

    • Our guess is that the November minutes will not be posted until approved until the December committee meeting that’s on the Borough Calendar for Thursday night, December 15. By the way, we applaud the borough for incorporating the Calendar ( into the Website. The Website has improved dramatically since last year. As to the trolley purchase decision process, according to commentary at Monday’s council meeting, this was a “opportunity” that presented itself following the December 5 LNP – Always Lancaster article about the trolley plans for 2017.

  5. I and my kids are just hoping that this time there are no references made to this costly boondoggle causing my wife & their Mother – the late Melissa A. Glenn – to be “dancing in the streets in heaven.” We knew her MUCH better than did the person who made this absurd statement earlier this year on-line; and rest assured – Melissa was an astute woman who would be mortified by this move.

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