Council “work session” meeting notes | While only fewer than a dozen citizens / visitors attended last night’s borough council meeting in person last night, over 700 viewed the meeting at that was live-streamed and is now archived at the borough’s facebook page. All the councillors were in attendance; six, in person; Councillor Pam Williams once again attended via telephone. By the end of the meeting, Williams was no longer connected to the “work session” conversation.
champagne tastes on a beer budget | Columbia’s acting borough manager had the unenviable burden of bringing a hard look at the reality of the borough’s financial condition. She said council has to make some serious decisions on what the needs are and what funding is available to responsibly fund the wants. Watch the video; listen to the message.
The Governor’s response | Following last night’s State of the Union Report, the Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer said this in her response to POTUS’s message, “Listen to what people say, but watch what they do.”
Identifying priorities | Last night’s session had councillors outlining and identifying their priorities. Any budget for any body — a household, a business or a government entity — has to identify its revenue streams and set its expense items. A basic goal is to have a balanced budget; generally, expenses cannot exceed revenues. To do that prudently, all entities have to identify and elaborate on the reasons for the expenditures needed to provide the comforts and services needed to satisfy its constituents. Yesterday, Pennsylvania’s Governor released the 2020-21 state budget. All the Governor’s proposed budget information is here.
Screenshots from separate posts at Lancaster Online’s facebook page.
last week, Columbia — today, Mount Joy | Lancaster Online‘s changed its story about the Columbia/Mount Joy makeover woman from last week to today.
“Insanity! This is an ABOMINATION for Lancaster.” | Last night, Lancaster’s leaders whored out as “Lancaster council advances plan for electronic billboard at Long’s Park.” More than a few commenters at the LNP – Always Lancaster facebook page challenge that call. [NOTE: Chris Courogen, LNP correspondent, is now covering Lancaster; he was covering Columbia’s council meetings.]
Residential conversion | At last night’s meeting, the topic of renters vs home ownership came up yet again. Some elected public servants cling to the theory that rental unit dwellers are problematic and that a town of home ownership is preferable. Last night someone proposed the borough may want to look into a program of “incentivizing” property owners to convert multi-unit rental properties to single-family homes. The city of Elgin, Illinois is one municipality we found that has a “residential conversion grant.”
“The Residential Conversion Grant (also commonly known as Multi-Family De-Conversion program) is designed to provide funding for converting non-conforming multiple unit residences back to their original use. This is an incentive grant program that is not only intended to compensate property owners for the work required remove the additional non-conforming residential unit, but also for the loss of rental income following the conversion.”
10X bigger, but | The City of Elgin’s population is more than 112,000 and can afford lots of projects and services for its citizens. Its budget is pretty revealing, however. It’s got line items for Debt Service and Capital Improvement Funds; Debt Service / Corporate Bond Fund; Equipment Replacement Fund and more to precisely categorize spending.