Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Columbia Borough Council focuses on 'policy and cutting costs' in 2021

GAYLE JOHNSON for LNP | LancasterOnline Feb 1, 2021

When: Columbia Borough council meeting, Jan. 26.

What happened: Council President Heather Zink told members she wants each of them to prioritize goals for the new year and then shared two of hers: cutting unnecessary spending and overseeing the borough’s financial areas.

Quotable: “It’s kind of hard to spend your money when you don’t know what your priorities are,” Zink said after the meeting. “We have to set goals about what is important to the community.” Zink said she chose finance as her area of interest because she works with mortgage-lending and servicing software.

More information: Borough council member choose areas of expertise, according to Borough Manager Mark Stivers. Members used to form committees but soon realized that the number of weekly committee and council meetings took too much time, Stivers explained after the meeting. So, each council member now works with staff on at least one area of leadership. Those areas should be assigned in the coming meetings. “I need council members to focus on policy and cutting costs,” Stivers said.

Saving money: To that end, the council approved terminating its contract with current IT provider Easy Solutions to sign with Executive Image Solutions, which will save about $30,000 a year. In addition, council members learned that a recent AA- bond rating from S&P will recoup about $1 million. Zink said she also wants to update code violations to reflect current financial realities. For instance, the dollar amounts for some violations were written so long ago that the correct fines may not be reflected in the borough’s current fee schedule, Zink said.

Columbia Crossing: Despite being closed for 103 days due to COVID-19, Columbia Crossing managed to take in almost $183,000 in 2020, with expenses of about $133,000. About $115,000 comes from the borough, and other revenue came from loans from the Payment Protection Program and Small Business Administration, council members learned. In addition, the indoor/outdoor venue welcomed 10,972 visitors but had to cancel 22 weddings and private events.

What’s next: The borough will meet for a work session at 7 p.m. Feb. 2, and the meeting will be streamed on the borough’s Facebook page.

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