Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Columbia trolley "Spyed" at Columbia Crossing

Columbia Spy happened upon Columbia's new trolley at Columbia Crossing this afternoon.

Columbia's newly purchased trolley was a topic of discussion at last month's borough council meeting. Mayor Leo Lutz praised the purchase saying, "I hesitate to say you bought it, I think you kinda stole it. It was a gift."

A contract between Columbia Borough and SVCC for management of the trolley has been under discussion. At issue in writing the draft contract was determining which entity should hire the drivers and provide the liability insurance for the trolley. Insurance carriers require that the drivers be hired by the entity holding the policy. An insurance representative at the meeting addressed council about the issue.

Kathleen Hohenadel of the SVCC presented the anticipated operating expense figures, including the cost of trolley drivers.  Most likely, two or three part-time drivers will be hired.

Hohenadel stated that the 2016 hourly cost to run the Rivertowne Trolley was $85 and predicted the 2017 hourly cost to operate (Columbia's) trolley to be $31.73. Based on figures presented to council there will be negative net of $2,567.45 the first year of operation.

In addition, children rode free last year but will pay a dollar each this year. The cost for adult riders will increase a dollar as well - to $3.

A new projected use for 2017 is "special uses" for the trolley. No details were presented, since the idea is still under discussion.

Councilwoman Dr. Sherry Welsh questioned why (on the sheet listing items for inclusion in the contract) the borough will not share equally in the profits, but share 50/50 in the losses. The 2017 profits are listed as SVCC 75% and the Borough 25%.

Borough Manager Greg Sahd emphasized that many of the issues are still open for discussion.

The Borough is accepting applications until Friday, May 5, 2017 for a Seasonal Part-time Trolley/Bus Driver. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, valid Class A or B CDL license with passenger endorsement, and a clean driving record. Experience as a school bus driver or public transit operator preferred. The successful candidate(s) will be required to obtain a CDL medical examination/certification every two years by a specified physician. Current pay rate is $12-15/hour after 90-day probation period.

Applications and job descriptions are available at the Columbia Borough Municipal Building, 308 Locust Street, Columbia.

Borough council voted to buy a trolley at its December 2016 meeting.  The trolley is provided by Elite Coach of Ephrata for $39,900. Voting was unanimous among the five councillors present.

The trolley is a 1993 model with 53,000 miles and was used previously by the borough during the Columbia lantern tour. Public Works Director Ron Miller took a test drive/ride for several miles recently and described the vehicle's engine and transmission as "excellent" and presented council with an extensive written report. He called the venture "not a frivolous investment whatsoever." The trolley is air-conditioned and comes with a lifetime supply of vehicle filters. Councillor John Novak said the same trolley in today's dollars would cost $200-250,000 new.

Council had originally planned to employ the services of Rivertowne Trolley Company again in 2017 until a sudden opportunity surfaced to buy its own trolley. The issue normally would have gone through committee before being presented to council, but councillors felt the matter warranted quick action due to other parties interested in acquiring the vehicle. Columbia paid $30,600 last year to rent Rivertowne's trolley.

Councillor Cleon Berntheizel said, "I look at this as an investment in the borough."

Columbia woman pleads guilty to aiding boyfriend in husband's killing

A Columbia woman who aided a boyfriend in the 2016 stabbing death of her husband has pleaded guilty to felony charges that she provided false information to law enforcement officers.

Lancaster County woman, injured by distracted driver, pushes for harsher laws for texting behind the wheel

Thursday's meet-and-greet event begins at 6 p.m. at the municipal building, 308 Locust St., with members of Columbia Borough and Northern Lancaster County Regional police departments, Columbia Fire Department, Columbia Emergency Medical Services and Susquehanna Valley EMS.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Construction of storage units continues apace

Columbia Spy shot the following photos today showing the progress of construction for the planned storage units along Front Street. Excavation continues and drainage lines are beginning to be installed. The next step will most likely be pouring concrete slabs.

The multi-unit self-storage facility is being constructed by Associates Properties PA, LP. The facility will contain 10 x 20, 10 x 25, and 10 x 30 units, for a total of 40,000 square feet of storage space, according to Jeff Seibert of Associates Properties. Construction is expected to be completed by late July.

More inane graffiti from the talentless and bored

More graffiti has been noted recently, this time on Jersey barriers along Front Street (under the Veterans Memorial Bridge), and along the Route 441 bypass. Trailers parked near Bootleg Antiques, and the concrete wall leading to the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail were also spray-painted. This incident is believed to have occurred this past Tuesday evening, according to sources.

The two photos below show graffiti on the Veterans Memorial Bridge that was painted during the incident a few weeks ago that Columbia Spy reported on HERE.