Sunday, October 25, 2015

Takeaways from the budget meeting


A proposed 2016 budget was presented at Columbia Borough Council's Tuesday night budget meeting. Among the items discussed were the following:
  • The annual police department budget of $2.8 million is approximately equal to the annual amount of property tax revenue. The borough is exploring various options, including regionalization, to contain costs. Several councillors noted that the current situation is "not sustainable" and services may need to be cut in the future if no other options are implemented. According to council, infrastructure improvements and various services have routinely been paid for largely by grants and earned income tax revenue. 
  • The borough is looking at filling several positions: full-time codes department employee, highway one level employee, borough manager.
  • The proposed millage is 7.75, a reduction of .25 mil, as recommended by the borough auditor. (.25 mil generates $85,000 per year for the borough.)
  • The borough was recently informed by their solicitor that the fire company cannot sell the former Columbia No. 1 building on Front Street, because it is on borough land and is therefore borough property and must  be sold through a bidding process or other means.
  • Pam Williams requested $6700 to show a series of four movies. The proposed series is an expansion of the recent Movie Under the Stars presentation held at Columbia River Park. Council referred her to the Parks and Recreation Board December 1 meeting.
  • Beth Troxell of Susquehanna Center for the Creative Arts requested $3900 for a series of free art classes for Columbia students.
  • Department managers are scheduled to attend the meeting of the whole, Monday night, October 26, at 6 p.m. for further budget discussions.

24 comments:

  1. Wow it took this long for councilors to figure out they can't afford the police dept. How long will it take our mayor to figure it out.

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    1. The weight of inevitability will descend upon him . . . eventually.

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    2. Lol.....I love your comment Cole and I could NOT agree more. He needs a clue!

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    3. Apparently we are only looking better to slumlords as they are the ones buying up properties! Why? Well because at best, we have a weak codes department that doesn't hold buyers/sellers to standards. Does anyone in the codes department know what a Certificate of Occupancy is for?

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    4. To hear it from the code department, their hands are always tied and there is always red tape. It appears as if the "slumlords" are the ones with all the rights.

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  2. " Pam Williams requested $6700 to show a series of four movies. The proposed series is an expansion of the recent Movie Under the Stars presentation held at Columbia River Park. Council referred her to the Parks and Recreation Board December 1 meeting."

    $6700 to show 4 movies to 50 people each? RedBox is 1.50. And they wonder why this town has such financial problems?

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    1. That seems really excessive alright. Do they ever have to justify amounts they request?

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  3. " The borough was recently informed by their solicitor that the fire company cannot sell the former Columbia No. 1 building on Front Street, because it is on borough land and is therefore borough property and must be sold through a bidding process or other means."

    The borough didn't know this? Really? Unreal.



    "Beth Troxell of Susquehanna Center for the Creative Arts requested $3900 for a series of free art classes for Columbia students."

    Again. Art is great and all, but what is this? A council meeting or a freaking wishing well??? And I think the district still has art teachers. What a joke.

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  4. hiring a FULL TIME CODE OFFICER???? what??? more incompetence???????? Council people you really MUST step up to the plate. NO NO NO NO NO. theres enough code officers and more than enough money wasted on this apparently dysfunctional dept.

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  5. Oh you poor Columbia Citizens the taxes you will be paying in the very near future because you have some (VERY STUPID) people on your Council and don't know the difference between a penny and a dime. Wait Columbia will be a spin off of the BRONX New York all kind of JUNK PEOPLE will be buying the properties and and make them into 5 and 10 apartments. The days of Columbia as it was will come TUMBLING down. Watch and see

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  6. theres already 1 landlord who now owns more than 60 properties....

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    1. Who is that? Just asking, public information.

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  7. Columbia is looking better, but we have to keep moving with vision and purpose. We need to be attractive, whether courting tourists or luring prospective homeowners. There's an old term,
    "(he) married up" Columbia needs to "sell up". Get people in that want to take care of their property and be part of a community.

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  8. With taxes as high as they are, good luck getting homeowners

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  9. My thoughts are we should not be adding salaries to our budget. No code officer, highway worker, etc. With the cost of health insurance, workers comp insurance and the taxes the borough pays on the salaries, such as FICA and Medicare, the cost of an employee is very high. Make due with with we have.

    As for those looking for funds for special projects like movies and art, the answer is simply no. While it would be great if times were better but they are not. Fund raising and donations are the route to go, not the taxpayer pocket.

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    1. Funny, that's exactly what one council member said the Historic Society should do, raise their own money, yet there is a list of community groups that do receive funds from the borough. What is the difference?

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  10. Whine, complain, and grumble. Nice to see your anonymous comments here. But wondering WHY ONLY 5 PEOPLE SHOWED UP for the PUBLIC budget meeting last Tuesday!! Show up and speak up. Nect meeting is Tuesday November 24 at 6 pm in Council meeting room. Put this on your schedule NOW so you can't use the excuse that you forgot next time.

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    1. There is a borough council meeting on November 9, a budget meeting on November 17, and a meeting of the whole on November 23.

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    2. So, anonymous is complaining about an anonymous comment! What meeting is being referred to on November 24th? We are to mark our schedule now for this one.

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  11. Yeah show up and be attacked or made an ass out of by boro members,,,
    It's not worth the health risks anymore,

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    1. True, council members do not always act in a professional manner and at times they have been rude to citizens.

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  12. Yes show up,, voice your opinion but it won't matter.

    Council has already decided,,, behind closed doors,,,,

    POOF

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  13. Item 2 of this article previously listed "public works director" as one of the positions to be filled, but at last night's meeting of the whole, Ron Miller, who IS the public works director, said he is not stepping down. The correction was subsequently made to this article; the job opening notice was deleted. On the recording of the October 20 budget meeting, however, a councillor states that "public works director" is one of the openings to be filled. The Spy posted what was announced at that meeting. We strive for accuracy.

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