Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A few quick thoughts on the sale

Several points stand out from last night's Committee of the Whole meeting.

First, the unexplained absence of Councilman Jim Smith - peculiarly, during a very significant vote for the borough. Perhaps there is an acceptable, legitimate reason for it, but residents are owed an explanation. Without one, speculation will continue to run rampant.

Second, Council President Mike Beury's assertion that, despite the audience's expectations, a vote would not take place due to the lack of a full council, which made Smith's absence even more peculiar. His disdain for the sale and disregard for residents' wishes was expressed in his casual dismissal of the petition presented to council, his attitude throughout the meeting, and his vote.

Third, in a transparent stalling tactic to further delay a vote, several officials and council members attempted to muddy the waters with contrived questions and minutiae that should have been presented months ago. The Ad Hoc Committee was formed, and a consultant employed, to investigate the possibility of the sale.  Their final report recommended moving forward with it. Officials requesting further answers were essentially ignoring the findings of a study the council commissioned.

Councilman Kelly Murphy finally cut through the miasma by making a motion for the sale, which Councilman Barry Ford seconded. If they hadn't, the process may have dragged on for several more months or even years, question after question, doubt after doubt, study after study.

Congratulations to all on the council who voted for the sale, as well as those on the Municipal Authority, because it demonstrated forward, progressive thinking and was the right thing to do for the future of the borough.

As Councilman Murphy stated, there are other equally difficult decisions in the offing. He reminded us that Columbia has an "us and them" mentality - Dark Ages thinking that has to stop.

I agree.


38 comments:

  1. Very well stated Cole

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  2. I do believe the rule of the little fiefdoms in this state (boroughs and townships) is past its peak and will someday be coming to an end in favor of regional (county-based, perhaps) governments. This isn't the 1700s anymore.

    LASA is one step closer to that realization.

    -FMB

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    1. I pray the rule of little fiefdoms does not come to an end. Big government is bad government. Local government is the only level of government where you can actually be heard.

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    2. Yeah, keep telling yourself that. These little town governments are from an earlier era, and are a joke now. But hey, go ahead and buy into the "fear of government paranoia", mostly promoted by those *in* government.

      --FMB

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    3. FMB.....the post before yours says we "can actualy be heard". Problem is we are being ignored!!!!!

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    4. Yeah, that local gov't thing ain't working out too good. That's ok - I think we'll see an end to it in our lifetimes.

      --FMB

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  3. I heard Councilman Smith was away on vacation.

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    1. He must be back. I just saw him an hour ago.

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  4. Lets also not forget the other councilwoman who voted no Steph Weisser. She gave no explanation for her vote, she almost never gave input, or questions during the meetings leading up to the vote. Her mind was set from day one, that even if LASA would have offered $100 mil she would stay lock step with Mike Breury. These are not leaders. These are puppets for the employees. Ill include the mayor here too. He was using every stall tactic possible to not let this vote happen. He is too much a friend to the empoyees aka police too make the tough decisions coming up concerning these folks. The way things have been run in this boro for the past couple decades is the reason the town is in the shape its in. We need people in council, & mayors positions who make decisions which are best for the taxpayers,& the future of this town. Than maybe there'll be an article in the Lanc News about the great turnaround in Cola instead of the article running now about how dire conditions are in Cola

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  5. If councilman Smith was/is away on vacation, WHY did council act like they weren't sure if he was going to show up for the meeting...wouldn't they have been informed of a scheduled vacation? Another a display of confusion. I was happy to see that Barry Ford and Kelly Murphy were in leadership roles that evening. Hopefully when voting time rolls around we will see a greater turnout at the polls. We clearly see the members of council that must go.

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    1. Right. Council acted like they didn't know if he would show or not. Do some council members just not show up, without previous notification?
      Murphy and Ford cut through the BS and should be commended. Also, Gable and Barninger, for their yea votes.

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  6. Beury's callousness toward the petition was unforgivable. It didn't matter if only one person signed it or 200 people, it has to be taken seriously. Someone's time and effort went into talking to citizens about LASA and collecting signatures. That could be more leg work than some of the council members did. The person that took the petition around sincerely cared enough about this matter to act on it. The next petition should be to get some members off of council. Don't take my money if you don't want to hear my opinion.

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  7. Then why are sitting on you duff and not on Columbia Borough Council, or maybe you were and did nothing while on. Your input is from a computer or heckling people who have the guts to make a decision on behalf of 10,000+ citizens.
    How do you know personally what is best for this town, maybe this issue should have been on a ballot in November 2014.
    Remember the papers have not been signed and council can go back on their word like the Market Trust went through.

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    1. The vote was 4-2. It would be political suicide for anyone going back on their word. Besides, I don't think they can. I believe the vote was legally binding.

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  8. To go back now on Monday's vote will put council in a very poor position.

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  9. Can the Mayor veto this vote ?

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    1. I really don't think so. Maybe someone better informed than I am can reply.

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    2. Thankfully, in most cases ... NO.

      Here's the link to the statute:

      http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/362/chapter43/s43.7-701.html

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    3. Thanks for the info, Brian.

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  10. Can't we all just get along to make the town a better place. All this energy wasted on this could be used for the good if everyone wanted too.

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  11. how can a high profile governing body not even know weather or not there is a final vote, duh !!

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  12. I think that he can, two times a year he can veto any vote, and my guess is that he'll veto this one for sure !

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    1. "The Mayor has veto power over legislation passed by Council, although Borough Council may over-ride a veto by a majority vote plus one additional vote."

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    2. If this decision gets vetoed and is not overridden, it will mark the beginning of the end for this town, and we will really be a laughingstock.

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  13. remember when the majority of Council voted o disband HARB and get rid of HARB all together, everyone in the County thought that it was a done deal - and it was a pretty big deal !, and the Mayor Vetoed it a few weeks later and over turned the vote, all over the papers again, my oh my what power the man has !!

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    1. Lets talk about the conflict of interest the mayor has with his cabin on the waterfront. They will need to hook up to a sewer system in the near future. With LASA he will have no influence on the hook up fee. With Cola. sewer on the other hand?
      This goes for the councilwoman who voted no too.
      Think it had any influence on their opposition to LASA

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    2. If the mayor has a vested interest in this, he should recuse himself from any further action pertaining to it.

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    3. Yes Steph Weisser has a cottage along the river. I believe the reason her, Leo and Wickenheiser are against the sale is this. Once LASA has our sewer diverted to their plant and it is no longer going into the river, who will there be to blame for the pollution that is STILL going into the river? Who will the cottage owners hide behind then? How many portapotties are on the islands right now? How many along the river? Where is THEIR sewer going right now?

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  14. "Every Ordinance and Every Resolution of a legislative nature MUST be presented to the Mayor for consideration after passage by Council. The Mayor may VETO the ordinance and submit his objections in writing at the next regular meeting. Council can override the veto with two thirds majority vote"


    http://voices.yahoo.com/the-role-mayor-pennsylvania-small-towns-all-423062.html

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  15. And when peoples sewer rates jump dramatically in the future under Cola sewer they'll know who to blame. Also the business owners will remember him for keeping their rates higher than their competitors in neighboring towns. Too many people now know that LASA has much better rates for the majority of the people now & especially in the future.
    POLITICAL SUICIDE!

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  16. what? you people are nuts. first get your facts straight. the Mayor does NOT own a river front cottage. and guess what? the farmers all the way up to new york are polluting the river the same as all industries along the river. wake up people. you rant and rave and have NO idea what your talking about. do your homework. the sewer plant is the ONLY money maker for this Boro and the Boro OWNS it....WHY in the hell would you get rid of your only moneymaker?? it makes absolutely NO sense.

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  17. well said. i totally agree. its a shame people rant and rave but will not take the time to do ALL their homework. norm meiskey should have been run out of town. council should NEVER have ALLOWED this BACK on the floor after 6 years ago when it was clear the resdients wanted to keep the sewer plant. all this nonsense for 1 person who owns 1 business. IF it were such a big deal...where in the HELL where ALL the ohter business owners inthis boro???? THAT says something. selling the sewer plant will HAUNT this BOro forever and ever and there will be nothing to do to take it back.

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  18. Ford and Murphy have NO CLUE....

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