Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Columbia Borough Council Meeting, August 11, 2014

The Columbia Borough Council held its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on August 11, 2014, at Borough Hall, 308 Locust Street. Highlights of the meeting are as follows:


Parking Issues at Park Elementary School:  Columbia Borough School District Superintendent Carol Powell and Park Elementary Principal Brett Esbenshade discussed parking issues at Park Elementary School. Esbenshade said that the district had recently added seven new teachers at Park Elementary, and more parking is needed. Teachers will park by permit, according to Esbenshade's plan. He said substitute teachers don't want to work at Park School due to the lack of parking. Borough Manager Sam Sulkosky said the permit system will prevent non-teachers from parking there. Councillor Jim Smith responded, “You mean the taxpayers.” 

Smith said that Sixth Street between Cherry Street and Lancaster Avenue already has bumper-to-bumper parking. Councillor Mary Barninger said that the “long block” on Cherry between Sixth and Bethel Streets seems to have ample parking. Esbenshade said he would like parents to pick up students at the car rider area, or park somewhere and pick up students at the playground. Barninger stressed that the district's request is not due to any safety factor, but is instead an employer convenience.

Powell said she doesn't want teachers to take residents' parking but wants to avoid congestion in front of the school. She asked if this could be done on a trial basis. Mayor Leo Lutz said it could. Lutz added that the schools weren't built with consideration for parking, since in previous years, students walked to school. Barninger said she found it surprising that substitutes won't come due to parking. Council President Mike Beury asked how far teachers are willing to walk and suggested a deal could possibly be made with CVS, since, according to him, "their parking lot is never full." 

Powell said they want to accommodate parking for teachers and not infringe on residents' parking. Councillor Kelly Murphy wants the opinion of the residents along Sixth Street and said that should have been done prior to the request being presented to council. Barninger asked if council needed to do anything if ample parking is available. 

Council voted to allow a bus loading zone on Cherry Street between Sixth Street and Lancaster Avenue, 7:30 to 8:30 and 2:30 to 3:30, with notices to match existing signage.  The existing signs cannot be enforced without an ordinance.  Esbenshade said neighbors are invited to attend two upcoming traffic control meetings: Thursday, August 14, and Tuesday, August 19, both at 6:30 p.m. to discuss a proposal to allow parking on Cherry Street between Sixth and Bethel Streets, where there are few residents.



Budget Gap Pending:  Resident Mary Wickenheiser told council there will be a budget gap pending with the upcoming sale to LASA that would include salaries for the borough manager, finance manager, and others. She said earmarking money for roads is not the way to go.  


Mayor Lutz:  Mayor Lutz said Columbia's recent National Night Out was a success for the third year. He commended Chiques Rock Outfitters for staying late and accommodating children waiting in line to get into their kayaks. He said the Fourth Annual Chiques Challenge at River Park went well on Saturday, as did Sunday's baptism ceremony there. Councillor Barry Ford asked how often the porta-potties at River Park were cleaned, since they appeared to be dirty. Lutz said people coming off the river use the restrooms, but this won't be a problem [for next year's summer events] due to the opening of the visitors center.

Lutz said police have been called nine times for disruptive conduct at 119 North Sixth Street for one individual at a rental property. He said that is more times than at 920 Plane Street (The Wagon Werks Apartments). He also mentioned that the 400 block of Union Street contains a lot of trash and that this block overshadows every other block in Columbia in this regard. Councillor Ford suggested using a quick ticket for the trash. It was suggested that a camera be placed in that area.  A representative of the local Boys and Girls Club, who identified himself as Darrell, stated his group collects trash once a month on a route that includes the 400 block of Union.  

Lutz said drowning is the number two cause of death in children.  He expressed concern that since the local pool has closed, the children might swim in the river.  He said that every child should learn how to swim and questioned where they could learn. He said the borough should study the feasibility of a community pool. He also suggested the borough strike a deal with the Mountville or the local YMCA to bus children at a reduced rate for swimming lessons. He stressed that Columbia is a river town and emphasized the importance of knowing how to swim. Councillor Jody Gable interjected that there is a lack of recreation for kids in the community, with not a lot for them to do.  

Lutz said that the DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) is requesting to use River Park for a Susquehanna seminar on Tuesday, October 14, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.  He added that since the DNCR will be there, the new building could be dedicated the same day.  Barninger stated that the agency will need a "facilities use request.” Lutz said he wanted this approved immediately, since the DCNR has done a lot for River Park.  At this point, resident Frank Doutrich interrupted by stating that some items must be open for public comment before council acts on them.  He said, “You missed it twice tonight.”






River Park:  Councillor Steph Weisser made a motion to consider approval to remove all trash receptacles at the River Park, which Councillor Ford seconded. Borough Manager Sulkosky suggested doing a test run. Mayor Lutz said that if trash cans are removed and someone leaves trash, it will be considered littering. Council also voted to allow the DCNR to use the River Park Visitors Center on October 14th from 10 a.m. to noon, upon receipt of facilities use request form and insurance and added that there might be building dedication ceremony the same day.


Fire Police Agreement:  Council discussed an agreement between West Hempfield Fire Police and Columbia Borough Fire Police to conduct traffic control in West Hempfield Township for non-emergency events such as the Bridge Bust, car show, etc., to solicit help from other communities. The borough solicitor said doing so would require an inter-municipal government agreement and ordinance. He added that each municipality will need to have an ordinance which can be advertised simultaneously and the cost shared. Council suggested that Borough Manager Sulkosky contact West Hempfield Township Manager Ron Youtz and the Mountville Borough secretary.


Fund Revenues for Road Improvements:
 Item 11a [See agenda, posted previously] was tabled until the next meeting of the whole.   Councillor Smith remarked, “It's called, 'Kicking the can down the road.'” Manager Sulkosky stated that earmarking funds for roads is not necessary and could cause problems with an audit next year as "inappropriate accounting." Council approved payment to Little Caesars for public improvements. Councillor Kelly Murphy said all projects have been completed adequately.



Ordinance 854, Etc:  Mayor Lutz said fire companies and police recently responded to a call on Cloverton Drive and found a"campfire" where a man was burning construction debris without a receptacle and in violation of the open burning ordinance. 

After discussion with Melissa Kelly of the Lancaster County Planning Commission a Senior Planner regarding SALDO (Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance), council approved a motion to forward SALDO to the Lancaster County Planning Commission. Kelly suggested holding off on the official map at this time.  SALDO, zoning, and map issues all require public hearings.  

Council President Beury said he had received a letter from Claire Storm suggesting naming the Route 441 bypass for General Edward C. Shannon. He said the matter will be discussed at the next meeting of the whole.


Quick Ticket:
 Councillor Smith said Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Helm is grateful the council passed “Quick Ticket.” He said Elizabethtown Borough heard about it and wants a copy. Beury said he recently received a letter dated April 16th regarding handicapped parking. He said the matter will be discussed at the next meeting of the whole.


Part II - Citizen Comments - to follow

33 comments:

  1. Columbia has so many kids in this town that are running wild. 10 kids living in 2 unit section 8 apartment is just SICK!!!! Nothing is done about this BULL!!

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  2. Columbia needs a good skate park

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    1. It would give young people something to do.

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  3. Was wondering why would you remove trash receptacles at the River Park? Most folks bring drinks and/or snacks with them for the hike and will need a place to put their trash at different sites when finished.If there is no place to put it ,of course there is going to be increased littering-using receptacles will deter that! All parks should have them because unfortunately where there are people,there is trash :/

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    1. I agree and was wondering about this too. Seems ridiculous to remove the trash receptacles, especially since it's the prime time of the year. What's the basis for this?

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    2. Boaters (and some others) have been abusing the privilege by piling loads of trash into and beside the trash cans.

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  4. With the swimming issue- i don't care how well you can swim-the Susquehanna is NOT an option - too dangerous

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  5. So nice to read about the meeting as at the meeting you CANNOT hear what is going on even a person with hearing aids commented on this at the meeting.
    Thanks you did an excellent job on this.

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  6. For the trash. Take out what you take in. I don't believe there are too many trash cans along the Appalachian trail. And that runs from Georgia to Maine. However you will still have people leave trash behind. When I use out of state boat ramps I rarely put anything in a trash can there. I normally take it with me and throw it out at my house.

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    1. That's the responsible thing to do. Thank you. Unfortunately, some people don't do the right thing.

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  7. While I do understand that most of the filling up of the trash receptacles at the river park is done by boaters, it still is unsettling that the Borough Council has voted to remove ALL trash receptacles. With the ongoing millions of dollars being spent on a marquee RiverPark, why in the world would we not want to at least keep the trash cleaned up with some aptly located receptacles, regardless of who is generating the trash? It certainly won't bode well for tourism if the Riverpark begins to look like the underside of the Staten Island Bridge. I would hope that this is only a temporary situation until the building is completed and then hopefully the receptacles will return. Has it really become that much of a time consuming ordeal for the Borough workers to empty a few trash cans at such a beautifull destination, in which we(Columbians) are trying to make into a tourist mecca? Maybe don't place a receptacle right at the boat ramp? Maybe utilize the camera system more to see who is actually filling the trash receptacles up and enforce a fine?

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    1. AMEN and thank you! Exactly what we were thinking when we saw this the other evening. Absolutely crazy!

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  8. It does not matter in this town. Columbia is going to file BANKRUPTCY!! People WAKE UP!! There is know way out, just going to get worse!

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  9. In addition to a swimming pool, Columbia needs a good skate park for the kids. If we are going bankrupt, let's do it in style.

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  10. Excellent meeting summary!!!

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  11. because the Boro and council do NOT care. what a sin. how ignorant are this bunch of council people...yeah spend MILLIONS and MILLIONS on River park and then take ALL trash receptacles away? seriously. don't ANY of you have a brain? Absolutely ridiculous.
    Each and every council person and boro management SHOULD be ASHAMED of your ignorance. i swear NONE of you has a brain. Yous ALWAYS do stuff butt backwards. Costs us taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars... theres NO excuse.

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  12. They want to hire a trash company to do it! Its ALL POLITICS HERE!! Its all who you know and KICKBACKS~~~

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  13. Has anyone noticed the HUGE amount of dog crap on the grass at the river park ? It is almost impossible to walk across the grass without stepping in it. Might as well fence in the grass and call the lawn what it is - a dog crapping area. Better then all over town.

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  14. We sure don't need to hire a trash co to do what our boro crew can do. We need an outside consultant to do time studies on our boro work force. This is what private business does to make the work force more efficient. I see enough to know there's much improvement to be made here. With the kind of salary & benefits the Col taxpayers are paying for these folks, we should expect above average results.
    Another thing, I want to know who did the study to show that using our workforce to blacktop the streets is saving the taxpayers money. I don't believe there ever was a study done. These are things I used to be involved in in big industry & it always paid to subcontract out these kinds of jobs because of cost, & quality. Employees are hard costs, you pay for them all year, & you pay for them when you retire. Columbia residents can ill afford to be paying for more than they need.

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    1. Some tightening up could probably be done.

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  15. 1st.Park School parking has been a problem for years. teachers should park along cherry st at the cemetary and along jansons. period. or walk. or car pool. really?
    2nd; yes there will be a HUGE budget gap withthe loss of the sewer plant and there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY POSSIBLE TO BRING IN THAT AMOUNT OFM ONEY PER MONTH
    3rd; 119 N 6th St-where is codes and the police and the 3 strikes your out?
    4th; 400 bk Union St has been a huge eyesore for years. yes mayor WHERE are those cameras? to cite the litterers? and yes they would need monitored.
    5th; NOTHING in the Boro is enforced! kids swim on theboat ramp at River PArk..dogs shit EVERYWHERE..neighbors are pigs with trash and rodents, grass is 3 ft high,etc
    6th; fund revenues for road improvements? seriously? maybe the BOro Council should NOT have approved the spending of MILLIONS & MILLIONS ON RIVER PARK
    7th; Helm is grateful for "quick ticket"...really? seriously? ordinances have been on the books for years to enforce these same items as quick tickets will...why weren't they enforced?
    8th; river park trash...there are a ton of cameras and what you can't catch who puts thier huge trash bags on the cans? again no one is enforcing. the Boro OWNS A TRASH TRUCK...NOT SURE WHY IN THE HECK THEY DON'T PICK UP THE TRASH ON A DAILY BASIS IF NEEDED FOR A FEW MONTHS A YEAR....
    in closing. wow. you people are amazing. to all boro mgmt and council persons. STEP UP TO THE PLATE. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. DO YOUR RESEARCH. MAKE EDUCATED DECISIONS. NOT JUST GOING ALONG WITH EVERYONE ELSE. If this council doesn't start doing the RIGHT thing. then WHY bother with River Park, new businesses downtown (which the BOro should be encouraging along with CEDC).

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  16. That would be crap from the Canada Geese and not dogs. The gaggle of geese that have been around there have been making a mess.

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    1. Yes, there has been a lot of goose crap lately.

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  17. Columbia needs a good skate park.

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  18. Council did a good thing on taking the trash cans out of river park. Been down there today and there is no trash in the park and the cans are gone.

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  19. IF people would NOT feed and let food around for the geese...maybe they wouldn't shit everywhere! maybe the fish & boat guy can give out tickets for those doing so.

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    1. You're right - giving them food encourages them to stay.

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    2. The intent by council is to place trash cans in close proximity to the Trail Services building after it is completed and opened. As many have said before me, if people could just be responsible for themselves and not have abused the privilege of having trash recepticles at the boat ramps, they would still be there. Instead there has been everything up to and including a used microwave found there. Disgusting. Stop saying how proud you are of your town and then deface it by using any available trash can for your own. Just look at the cans on Locust Street, where personal trash from nearby apartments has routinely been discovered. Personal pride.......

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