Sunday’s news items [numbers; taxes; “Befehl ist Befehl”; unprecedented challenge & more] – 1/5/2020

Still no agenda | Tomorrow night is the first Columbia Borough Council meeting of the new year and THE AGENDA IS NOT POSTED AT THE BOROUGH WEBSITE.


college statistics class | OPINION (based on fact): Way back then — when dinosaurs roamed the earth — people who took statistics classes in college learned “Small numbers: big percentages” and “Big numbers: small percentages.” Which is why it’s really important to read beyond the headlines. “Why percent change is actually misleading (most of the time).”

In this LNP – Always Lancaster article about municipal tax increases in 2020, this sentence is important: “In terms of percentage, the biggest hike this year is 58.5% in Brecknock Township, in the county’s northeast corner, but its rate is rising just 0.15 of a mill to 0.4063.”

Still on top in 2020! | Columbia’s still got the highest combined (municipal plus school) tax millage for property taxes in the county. The municipal only taxes in Columbia are the highest for any borough or township in the county; only Lancaster City’s is higher. – Lancaster County Website

Meanwhile … in Lititz | “Council approved the 2020 general fund budget, keeping the millage rate at 2 mills, with no tax increase.” That’s included in the municipal briefs in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster. But, prudently, “Council approved the implementation of the fee, which will pay for stormwater pipe replacement throughout the borough. That fee for most residents living on property of a 1/4 acre or less is estimated at $62.41, which would be billed quarterly at approximately $15.60 each quarter. The fees are expected to be in place in early 2020. The fee is based on the impervious surface of property.”

The Nuremberg defense | “Superior orders, often known as the Nuremberg defenselawful ordersjust following orders, or by the German phrase Befehl ist Befehl (“an order is an order”), is a plea in a court of law that a person—whether a member of the military, law enforcement, a firefighting force, or the civilian population—not be held guilty for actions ordered by a superior officer or an official.” – WikiPediA

Just following orders | POTUS “is doing the bidding of Washington’s most vile cabal.”The Intercept


unprecedented | [OPINION] You have to look long and hard to find a scenario as challenging as the one that Columbia Borough faces as 2020 begins. Consider:

  • Four newly elected borough councillors
  • A resigning borough manager following only a year and a half in the position
  • A search for a new Borough Manager —  there’ve been several since 2011 including Ron Miller (served as interim borough manager), Sam Sulkowsky, Norm Meiskey and Greg Sahd)
  • A search for a new Planning and Zoning Manager
  • A new solicitor
  • Trying to reconcile and manage a budget that’s included wants rather than needs.

Inordinate challenges call for incredible teamwork and a slow, steady course toward the goal. It is a one step at a time toward the goal. Or as the Rolling Stones said, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”

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