YSM Landscape Architects presented plans for three Columbia parks - Janson, Rotary, and Makle - derived from a study that was done over the past year or so. Plans for the parks can be found as part of the 146-page council packet HERE. Some aspects have not quite been ironed out, such as maintenance, funding, security, etc. A resident asked about the cost of the study but councillors and consultants didn't seem to know. (The cost of the study was $67,000, as we reported HERE.)
Jamie Widener, director of Columbia Life Network, asked Council for $35,000 to get the organization through the year. He said there is a limited amount of operating capital left - 60 days worth - and without Council's support, CLN will be unable to continue providing services to the community. At last fall's budget meetings, Widener had requested $66,000 but was denied any funding. Councilwoman Pam Williams asked where the money would come from, and finance manager Kyle Watts said cuts would need to be made elsewhere in the budget. Mayor Leo Lutz weighed in by saying, "I'm going to give you the easy answer to funding. Take some out of that revolving loan fund." Several residents supported the mayor's sentiments. No action on funding was taken at the meeting.
Rules of decorum
Council presented a draft resolution for rules of decorum at meetings, which can be found HERE. One item of contention was the requirement for anyone recording meetings to publicly announce so at the meeting outset. Brian Long of Columbia News, Views & Reviews said that according to the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, anyone attending a public meeting must assume they are being recorded. Councilman John Novak said it is a matter of courtesy to inform the public.
Councilman John Novak said the borough solicitor created a draft ordinance for review regarding abandoned vehicles. Code officer Paul Paulson said code officers cannot enter private property unless there's probable cause of a health issue. Mayor Lutz said in all ordinances there's a bit of discretion (to be exercised). Resident Dennis Wolpert said Representative Dave Hickernell told him that Council has the power to create a tough ordinance to address the issue. Mayor Lutz said police officers can enforce any existing borough code. Novak said borough officials will further discuss the issue, which will then be examined again at the next borough council work session on March 5, 2019.
Rebecca Denlinger said Council cannot write any laws regarding drones in the borough because doing so would pre-empt state law, but officials are looking at drafting a policy for drone use at emergency scenes.
According to Denlinger, the borough's planning commission has created a draft ordinance to be reviewed, but the outcome of a case currently before the state Supreme Court regarding STRs might influence the proposal.
Novak said legalization in PA could bring in $500-600 million in revenue to the state. He said he wants the borough to be prepared in the event the legislation is passed. Lutz raised several considerations, among them licensing and inspection of facilities, similar to what is prescribed in the borough's tattoo ordinance.
Council is gearing up to livestream its meetings in the near future. To record meetings, a cell phone used by former Code Enforcement Manager Steve Kaufhold will be fitted with a special lens recently obtained by Council. The next step is to obtain a microphone. Borough manager Rebecca Denlinger did not say who will be in charge of recording.
Social media policy
Council is in the process of hammering out a social media policy in order to create and maintain a Facebook page. Denlinger will approve all comments from councillors and others on the site. The draft policy is shown below.