Thursday, June 19, 2014

Columbia Municipal Authority votes YES on LASA sale

At its June 19 meeting, the Columbia Municipal Authority voted to sell Columbia's sewer system assets to the Lancaster Area Sewer Authority (LASA). In a four-to-one vote, the Authority approved the sale. William Kloidt, Michael Schober, Raymond McCarty, and Norman Meiskey voted for the sale, while Breneman Shultz voted against it. Authority members conceded that adjustments to existing agreements, such as those with West Hempfield, will be needed.

For the sale to be complete, Columbia Borough Council must also approve it.  That vote will take place at the Committee of the Whole meeting this coming Monday, June 23.

William Kloidt said he based his decision to sell on two main factors: the future cost of sewer lines, and economies of scale. He also urged the borough to negotiate for a position on the LASA board. Kloidt proposed that funds from the sale be used for other projects, such as placing windmills on the borough farm to generate electricity for the borough.  He projected that one windmill would cost $2.2 million and added that workers displaced by the sale could be employed in this endeavor.

Norm Meiskey said the sale will eliminate a significant number of liabilities and that employees have kept the plant running as efficiently as possible with old equipment.  He cited the borough's antiquated infrastructure as another factor in his decision to support the sale.  He also said that expenses incurred by LASA for maintenance and upgrades will be passed on to over 30,000 ratepayers, rather than only 3,700 in Columbia. He added that there will be a five-year integration to LASA's minimum rates and that since their inception, LASA has averaged a 2% per year increase.

Breneman Shultz voted against the sale over concerns that $50,000 per month will be required for three years during the transition period, with no revenue being collected during that time.


  1. It was very good to see common sense prevail in Columbia. The comments made by the 4 authority members were very good at explaining why they chose a yes position. You could tell they put a lot of thought into making the right decision in the best interest of the town. Lets hope that council thinks in what is in the best interest of the 3700 rate payers & the future of this town.

  2. How wrong are these dumb people!

  3. Really... More name calling? This decision has been well thought out and well researched. Sometimes the right decisions are the hardest ones to make. Don't make it worse with name calling.

  4. Awesome meeting!

  5. The dumb people may be the ones on council who vote no, than make a dumb comment like Brenny Shultz made when he voted no & sais". I just don't wannt to lose our sewer plant." That's a real thought out business decision.

  6. I hate the name calling that happens in this town. What is wrong with people? It's childish behavior and a bully mentality. Grow up people!

  7. Lets fill that council meeting tomorrow night & let the council know we are watching them & accept the LASA proposal & do what's right for the ratepayers. They are supposed to be representing the customers not the couple employees

  8. Did you know?

    That Manheim Township received over $31 million for their sewer system.

    The Columbia Waste Water Plant has had only three violations in the last sixty years totaling a little over $10k in fines.

    The Columbia Waste Water Plant produces a grade A residual that can be used in your garden, LASA has a grade B residual that will cost them $26 million for this upgrade.

    Columbia is responsible for the $10 million dollar pipeline if this agreement is accepted by Columbia Borough Council.

    The Columbia Waste Water Plant produces over $800,000+ in revenue to pay for salaries, upgrades and training in Columbia Borough.

    When upgrades are needed to the plant, Columbia is eligible for state and federal grants. LASA is not, these upgrades will be passed on to the consumer.

    I believe Columbia Borough Council needs to take their time, think of the future on the revenues that will not be there twenty years from now. Hold out for a larger payout such as $20 million, make LASA pay for Columbia's future. LASA wants not only Columbia, but all the towns North such as Marietta, Bainbridge, Maytown and Elizabethtown. Make them pay for the rights and hold out for more money.

    Columbia citizens will feel the effect in the future with no income for the borough.

    1. Oh shut up and sell it already. Do yourself a favor and start looking for a new job. Just make sure its not in research because you suck at doing that.

  9. And you know more than the consultants who council hired, the adhoc comittee, & the sewer authority. You really need to get your facts straight before you say things. One of the advantages of going to LASA is that the over 30, 000 of their rate payers will be responsible for future maintenance & upgrades, whereas if we stay Cola sewer just 3, 700 pay for this. One other thing if we would ever lose a customer like Anvil (god forbid) the system would financially fall apart. The rest of the ratepayers would have to make up this difference.

  10. ALL this for one little person who came to mtgs religiously month after month crying about his expense. and mostly NOT having a clue what he was talking about...if its that bad...where are all the other business owners. and guess what???? he doesn't even live in PA.