Wednesday, August 26, 2015

After debate and discussion, Council votes to extend Market House Trust contract


Columbia Borough Council, at its August 24 meeting of the whole, voted to extend its contract with the Columbia Historic Market House Trust by one year. The contract, which had been set to expire at the end of this year, will now run until December 31, 2016.

The meeting agenda had originally listed an item to "consider approval to send the Market Trust a letter ending the agreement with the trust effective December 31, 2015." After much discussion among councillors and trust members, however, that measure was voted down. Council instead voted five to two on a motion to extend the trust's contract by one year under the current agreement. Council President Mike Beury and Councillor Stephanie Weisser voted against the motion.

During the discussion leading to the vote, Cleon Berntheizel, chairman of the trust, noted that last year the trust had asked the borough for support in applying for a grant and initiating a capital campaign to raise funds for renovations to the inside of the Market House building. These initiatives were to be the start of moving forward with Phase II of the Market House Study of 2005, to which the borough offered its support. He explained that the grant subsequently got held up at the state level. "We are back on for that [the grant] this year. We don't know where that stands," he said and added that the trust doesn't know if they will receive the grant.

Under the guidance of a consultant, Ken Kauffman, the trust had considered converting Columbia's market to a "green farmer's market" with fresh produce and other items, but is now considering a mixed-use market.  The green market proposal called for renovating the market's infrastructure by upgrading the electrical and water systems including additional sinks and refrigeration units. Berntheizel said the proposal for mixed-use is to explore options that could complement the market. "All we are doing is an experiment or just to see what might be the possibilities out there," he said. He added that the trust is not looking at closing the market. "This is just an exercise to see if this makes sense and if there's somebody out there that we can do a mixed use with."

Several councillors noted that the trust had not fulfilled some of the terms of the agreement. Councillor Barry Ford pointed out that the trust had not given adequate notice of its meetings and did not send quarterly reports. He also said the trust had not promoted the market as much as stand holders do.

Trust members replied that meeting notices had been emailed and that quarterly reports and meeting minutes were sent to Acting Borough Manager Ron Miller. Berntheizel said the reason the trust had not done much to promote the market was due to lack of advertising dollars. He said they had asked the borough for funding last year but had been turned down. "If you don't have advertising dollars, you don't advertise," he said.

A stand holder said vendors have taken it upon themselves to advertise, but noted there was quite a large drop in support from the community.  She said several vendors have left, and several who were supposed to come did not.

Jeanne Cooper, vice-chair, said, "I didn't know that we were responsible for advertising.  If any of the landlords on Locust Street are responsible for advertising for any of the people who rent their property, I don't think they're aware of it." She also told council that the trust needs time to work through these things. "Until we get that grant that we can't do the inside, there are so many vendors that we can't get in for a green market." She also informed council of the trust's two meetings a month, on second and fourth Wednesdays.

Councillor Kelly Murphy added that if one in ten households in the borough shopped at the market on a regular basis, council would not need to be having a discussion.

44 comments:

  1. All i see here is a bunch of little kids that have nooooo CLUE in what they want!!!! What a waste of human time and money on this!!!!!!!

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  2. So why would Barry Ford vote to extend the contract after questioning why they are not full filling their obligations. This is just insane!

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    1. he is a problem! NO CLUE of what he is saying or doing!! he also killed THE C.B.A.A!!!!

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    2. Shades of John Kerry! He was against the trust before he was for it.

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  3. I used to shop regularly at market several years ago. There was a really nice catering-style business inside the front door and the food was great. I cannot remember the name anymore, but I looked forward to going in after work and grabbing supper to go. As I recall, Funk's farm, down around Washington Boro, had a stand there too. I remember seeing fresh cut sunflowers and pumpkins. There were items that I wanted and even needed. I can't say that now. With no disrespect intended toward current standholders, I no longer need what is offered there, so I do not go. When you open the door, it just looks empty.

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  4. I love the quote from Councilor Murphy " if one in ten thousand households in Columbia shopped at the market". Does he know that the population is approximately 10,500. The same population in 2007, when the market was thriving and had a large assortment of stands with great food. I was there when Barrack Obama visited on his campaign trail due to the fact of the visitors and economics to the market.

    Do you think Hillary, Donald, Jeb, or even Rand would stop in on his/her campaign today? Possibly to use it as an empty hall for stumping.

    This is my first time on this blog and was very angry that in five years this market has been dormant and not functional as a business opportunity for entrepreneurs. When visiting the Lancaster Market, it thrives of support from Corporate Directors and a host of sponsorship that works together on one goal, BUSINESS. They must sit in meetings and thank Columbia for giving them their increased business.

    Do they declare themselves a Green Market?

    Columbia Borough Council seems to be leaving the citizens hostage of their own town. I am a very sad citizen that has no interest in a corrupted government of its "who you know' policies. The state needs to be notified of possible corruption scandal that looms behind closed doors.

    SAD

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    1. Corruption is right on the money! Also, i would look into the columbia sewer plant for people with hands in the COOKIE JAR!!

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    2. Um.....yeah okay, because the state is NOT corrupt? Surely they will jump on right on THAT complaint!!

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    3. The councillor's quote was "one in 10" - that's 10% of the estimated 10,382 US Census Bureau population of the borough in 2013.

      Frankly, the overly optimistic perspective of the 2005 Market Study stated a 24% share of market of the 12, 621 households within "seven minutes" of the market house would shop at the market house. Translated to real numbers, that's roughly 3,030 shopper households a week.

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    4. WOW!!! I'd say the number of shoppers is off by about 2900 a week. Time for a new use for the market house building. Nobody in this community supports a true market house.

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  5. the trust had MORE than enough time. even councilers said they did NOT fulfill the terms of their agreement and yet....dumb as they are they voted yes to extend their contract. this is a bunch of bs, excuses and more excuses. say NO to the Market House trust. VETO that motion. the trust MUST go. the Market House is in the WORSE shape ever with the trust at the wheel the past couple years. enough said. REMOVE THE TRUST

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  6. i agree. now us taxpaying homeowners MUST step up to the plate and attend the next council mtg and say...hell no market house trust MUST go. maybe someone should look into the legalities of this bs. 100% UNACCEPTABLE. 100% INCOMPETENT TRUST. REMOVE THEM immediately. we will no longer allow this insanity to continue.

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  7. What I heard at the meeting Monday was that two people on the council did not vote for the trust but what can two people do when the other five voted for the trust.The other five need to wake up and do the right thing get rid of the trust.What are they doing for the town not a thing. Years ago you could go to market have lunch buy vegs. bake goods meat and many other things not today.They have had five years to do something and what have they done not much of anything time to say good by to the trust.and get some one in there that can do something good for the town.














    not a thing.used to be a nice place to get lunch buy vegs bake goods meat and many more t





    .

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    1. The black space is due to a Google glitch. I can't fix it.

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    2. Hey You Above... Yes YOU!
      All those things you talk about that's not there are!
      Go to market have lunch at TJ's or Laura B's Deli or BBQ at SBS BBQ, buy veggies from Esh Farm or My mother Daughters. buy baked goods at Kat's Sweet Treats, get sliced meats at the deli and if you not hungry for that then get a pretzel or buy something from the other vendors that offer jewelry many other things... Did I mention the is Heritage Pairing that sells breads from various bakeries one being from Ric's of Central Market... Hmm...
      So don't just pop your head in the door. Go in, walk around see whats there, meet the hard working vendors who are most not from Columbia but believe in what everyone else has given up on... Remember too that not all vendors are there everyday so get to know the stand and vendor days/hours...
      Things are taking time and not going at the pace of those but it's growing one vendor at a time and one customer at a time... So before say " there isn't anything there" go cause what your saying is really you haven't been there in sometime just as others haven't either but just like to complain...
      Support not distort!

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    3. What happened to the other twenty plus stands that have left the market (and not by choice) in the last five years?
      Smoking mirrors cannot be cleaned, but they can be replaced.

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  8. People can say, get up and do something and what are you doing to help, etc. But with the Trust in place everyone else's hands are tied. They HAD their chance, give someone else a turn. If council wants a Trust in place, fine, but appoint new members.

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    1. {{{CLAPPING}}} Agree!
      If their not doing it then replace them with the qualified persons that everyone seeks but remember they have to be free... No tax payer monies allowed to be spent or compensation...
      Or others should step up to the plate and take a wack at it... No money... Put your money where your mouth is, as they say!

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  9. I have to say (and this is not going to sound nice), but it is the truth, some people are "pity" shopping at the market. They go in and buy a couple small items because they feel bad for the standholders. They are not buying because they want or need the items. If you have what the public wants, it will sell itself. My brother ran a business for 30 years and has never advertised, he said it would be stupid, because he would only have to turn customers away. A thriving busines, because the product is great and word got around.

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  10. Why didn't council man Murphy recuse himself from voting. His wife is on the Trust

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    1. What would be the grounds for him recusing his vote? IF his wife were on the Trust, do you think he stands to gain financially? Do you think Trust directors get paid? People say the stupidest things.....
      BTW....which means By The Way, his wife is NOT a Trust director.

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  11. Is it true that a Trust member will run for council to bolster votes to get their hands on the LASA money for the Market?

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    1. Then the Trust will have more guaranteed votes.

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    2. How much power do you think one person has? Maybe he'll change the rules and make his vote count for 5 votes. Get a clue!

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  12. What is the plan B if they don't get the grant? How long does it take to get a grant anyway? They are doing nothing but smoke and mirrors.

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    1. If there isn't an approved state budget, how can grants be applied for? I better answer that for you, no budget=no grants applications.

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  13. Why does the trust president show up at meetings fashionably late? Does he still owe money to the Boro?

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  14. Yes Murphy should not voted because.he knew just how he was going to vote before the vote was even taken

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    1. Really? Lol.... What kind of nonsensical statement is this? PLEASE don't ever run for council whoever you are!!!!

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  15. agree. Murphy shouldn't have voted! still say REMOVE THE TRUST NOW.

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    1. Why should Murphy have not voted?

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  16. Seems like a lot of "conflict of interest" going on. How can one person serve on multiple committees and do justice to all and run a campaign for a seat on council?

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    1. What about someone who was on council and was a market manager or the one who is on the CEDC - conflict enough?

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    2. Do you even have a clue as to what conflict of interest means? The person who replied first has it right!

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  17. AFTER debate and discussion????? Surely you jest. THAT is not debate and discussion. Councillor Murphy should have recused himself from the vote. I certainly hope that at the September 14 regular boro council mtg that the council will veto this and NOT EXTEND THE TRUST CONTRACT.

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  18. i agree 100%. it's time to attend council mtgs and let these clowns know that they are NOT representing. seriously. do you have any idea what a difference it would make even if 10 people showed up...even better 25....get my point. it doesn't take much. they need to know we are DONE. they are INCOMPETENT. they MUST remove the trust NOW. they had their chance and did NOTHING. too little too late! good riddance.

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  19. Let's just remember two council members did not vote to put the trust back in give them credit.

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    1. They get credit, but credit will not remove the Trust.

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  20. Install a garage door in the back of the Market House and park the police cars in it. At least the building would have some value and use. How long is this joke going to go on?

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  21. Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission
    Chapter 11
    Ethics Standards And Financial Disclosure

    http://www.ethics.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/ethics/8995/the_ethics_act/539789

    "Conflict" or "conflict of interest." Use by a public official or public employee of the authority of his office or employment or any confidential information received through his holding public office or employment for the private pecuniary benefit of himself, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated. The term does not include an action having a de minimis economic impact or which affects to the same degree a class consisting of the general public or a subclass consisting of an industry, occupation or other group which includes the public official or public employee, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated.

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    1. Wow! Thanks for posting the comment on State Ethics Commission, very informative.

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    2. What's the difference we have a school board president who has his wife working as a teacher at the same school.
      (Let's see give myself a raise at home or worry about the taxpayers)

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  22. perhaps the fate of the market was decided by the secret meetings some of the elite are having around town that includes one member of the trust. They are all in for what they want and the heck with anyone else.

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  23. we need to attend boro council mtg sept 14 at 7 pm and voice our opposition to extending the market house trust contract. its ludacris. NO way. they had time to prove themselves....which they didnt. they have 4 months left on old contract....do NOT EXTEND. REMOVE THE TRUST. IF you don't Boro council and boro mgmt then you are NOT representing the majority of your constituants. then i guess you sit there for personal reasons. personal agendas. REMOVE THE TRUST. VETO MOTION.

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