Saturday, February 27, 2021

Columbia council still mulling new member, decides it's time to upgrade Borough Hall clock

Gayle Johnson | For LNP. Meeting, Feb. 23.

What happened: Council members failed to choose a replacement for a vacant council seat, rescinded their previous decision on a public relations firm, and decided to upgrade the inner workings of the clock at Borough Hall.

Vacant seat: Council members interviewed three applicants and, after more than an hour of discussion, no candidate received a majority vote. Ryan Sexton, a truck driver and veteran, and mechanic Peter Stahl each received three yes votes from the six-member council. Chris Misciagna, a nurse, received two yes votes.

Discussion: Council President Heather Zink noted that Sexton, who lives in the first ward, would bring additional voices into council. Currently, three council members live in the sixth ward, two live in the fourth ward and one lives in the seventh ward. Council member Todd Burgard recommended Stahl because the applicant expressed enthusiasm for the proposed purchase of the McGinness airport property.

What's next: Council members voted to postpone a decision until the March 2 work session. If voting then results in a tie, private citizen William Kloidt, the only noncouncil member on the vacancy board, will cast the deciding vote. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on the borough's Facebook page.

Quotable: "None of us had talked about (the candidates) beforehand," Zink said after the meeting. "We all need to think about the direction we want to go with the council."

New logo: Council voted to rescind a contract with Gavin Marketing, an advertising and PR firm, to design a single brand and logo to represent the borough. Instead, council member Burgard, a graphic designer who owns a business consulting firm, will work for free to design a unifying message and image for Columbia. Zink said council is exploring whether it has to pay a $2,500 termination fee for breaking its contract with Gavin.

Borough Hall clock tower: The borough will seek proposals for updating the handmade timepiece inside the clock at the top of the borough hall tower. Borough Manager Mark Stivers said the antique clock will look the same from the outside but will have an electronic timepiece. The clock's current mechanism will be donated to the National Watch & Clock Museum. The 1,000-pound bell first rang May 30, 1949, during a Memorial Day remembrance of those lost in all wars. A town hall fire in 1947 damaged the original bell, built in 1874. Clockmakers melted down the original bell and used the material to create the new device, according to a souvenir program describing the event. 


Howard Stevens said...

Just a note on the town clock, It's part of Columbia, part of our town. Also just saying, James Campbell from the watch Museum has custom machined parts for our Clock, and has advised the Borough of what company who could fix the clock. Also at the Meeting Frank Doutrich asked we had a person who worked on it and Custodian/Handyman said that Larry Laird in the meeting did substandard work on it,(may not be the exact wording but close) I was in favor of it getting fixed and the money is in the budget.

Joe Lintner said...

At the meeting, borough manager Mark Stivers said the clock was not maintained properly. A source close to the issue tells me the borough did not want to pay for a maintenance contract and the clock was therefore not maintained.

Joe Lintner said...

Actually, the handyman didn't mention substandard work. He said his experience in dealing with him was unsatisfactory.

Howard Stevens said...

Thanks Joe, still much the same, sub standard, unsatisfactory, Can't get parts, why spend the money to repair and repair. Get it fixed up and running, it's part of the Borough building. Peanuts compared to other stuff that will cost us for years, if not done right.