Sunday, August 17, 2014

Citizen Comments - Columbia Borough Council Meeting - August 11, 2014

Shawn Reed of Perry Street told council she received two quick tickets totaling $400 after a neighbor called the codes department to report weeds around her vegetable garden and trash alongside her house.   She subsequently called the codes department several times to discuss the tickets but allegedly got no response. Reed informed council that she did not pay the fines and is past the deadline to do so.  She said she received no warning, just an “instant citation.” Reed asked, “In the rush to correct some of the problems, is it too much of a quick fix?”
Borough Manager Sam Sulkosky told her she did not receive a quick ticket, as details are still being worked out.  He said quick ticket fines will be $25.  Sulkosky requested her telephone number and assured her he would investigate the matter in the morning.   

Ron Fritz of Franklin Street told council he was pleased about the amount of money saved by contracting a York company to do the milling for $320 an hour on the recent Manor Street paving project. 
“This is a substantial savings that this borough is going to see in the borough budget for the highway department,” he said. He added that the company has the proper equipment and is therefore able to complete the job faster.   He said he hoped to see, by next meeting, how much was realized in savings through contracting out the milling. 
“You might find a lot of savings in their budget for doing more streets,” he said.

Frank Doutrich of Ironville Pike asked what factors are involved in picking which streets are to be paved. Councillor Kelly Murphy said Public Works Director Ron Miller did an assessment of the conditions of all the borough streets a few years ago. Doutrich stated he believes the streets are paved and repaired based on who lives there rather than what streets have the greatest need.  
“There were some that were done that sure didn’t need it,”  Doutrich said. 
When Mayor Leo Lutz asked for an example, Doutrich said, “You travel the streets. You see what I see.”
Lutz said he knows the evaluation process and how the criteria were set up. He said there may be some deviations to the plan, because some streets require a complete rebuild due to having asphalt on top of clay.  He added there are basically three factors involved: money available, planned projects for a given year, and conditions of the streets.
Sulkosky stated that there is a rolling list in which streets are prioritized. The list is updated for extraordinary or unexpected events. 
“I've never, never, ever in the 13 years that I've been here seen any street paved in this borough for personal reasons,”  Lutz said. 
Councillor Jim Smith said he has never seen any favoritism. Doutrich asked for a list of the streets to be done and was told there was one posted on the window.  Doutrich said he would check it out. 
Doutrich then cited a street that was paved but not allowed to cure. He said it was open the same day. 
“I know why, and I'm sure some of you know why,” he said. When several concillors asked why, Doutrich replied, “I'd rather not bring that up. There's people that know. You can fool some of us some [of the] time, but not all of us all the time.”
Doutrich said that on Union Street, three-quarters of the curb was taken when milling was done for the recent paving project. He said only a fourth of the reveal remains on the curb.  He said a citizen who lives there called him and was irate.  Doutrich added that it was a waste of blacktop and said he does not know where snow and water will go. 
He also said there is a section of Union Street with a lot of trash. 
“Why are we even picking it up?” he asked.
Mayor Lutz said he has talked to people about throwing trash in the gutter.  He said the reply was,"That is what the gutter is for." 
“It's a culture thing that we have to break," Lutz said.

Darrell from the Boys and Girls Club then interjected that a group from his organization does a monthly trash pickup, and Union Street is one of the routes.


  1. I have to say that Frank Doutrich is absolutely correct. There have been streets paved in the past to appease certain borough residents and like Frank, that's all I'm saying, they do know.