The October borough council meeting was convened at 7:00 pm on Monday evening, October 9, 2017 in the borough hall council chamber. All the council members, the mayor, the solicitor, the borough consultant, the public works director and the codes officer.
Borough Manager Greg Sahd is on bereavement leave.
Approximately 36 persons were in the gallery; they included citizens, presenters (representing of agencies and entities speaking to agenda items I., 5. and I., 6; and four Lancaster Catholic High School students who attended as an assignment for a government studies class.
Lancaster Housing Opportunity Partnership (LHOP) Executive Director Ray D’Agostino updated those in attendance about the Columbia CHIHL (Columbia Housing Improvement & Homeownership Loan) program. He said Columbia’s tax structure adds some difficulty in selling homes in Columbia, though he said a good number (10 since February) of residents have taken advantage of the loan program. The average loan amount is around $6,000.
He also proudly stated that a single family has purchased the house at 255 North Third St., Columbia.
Matthew Sternberg, executive director of the Lancaster County Land Bank Authority, reported on the Land Bank’s assessment of the current status of 208-210 Locust Street and made a pitch to have the borough chip in more funding to help make the property more desirable. He submitted that restoring the facade of the structure might cost more than $61-62,000 plus other costs.
He suggested that the borough may want “front” an additional $75,000 to aid in development. No minutes for 2017 meetings have yet been been posted at the Land Bank Authority Website.
The councillors had several questions and Sternberg was non-committal about dealings with a potential buyer/developer of the property. After discussion, the council asked whether he would be willing to come back for the Finance Committee meeting on October 23. He agreed to do that.
There was more than a little bit of discussion following the introduction of Ordinance 885 to define and institute parameters for medical marijuana in Columbia. Councillor Wickenheiser said the process will be long due to the many county agencies that will have to be involved to approve the prospect of medical marijuana in Columbia.
Coming: Part 2, Quality of life issues – Crime and Violence in Columbia