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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Borough Council Meeting - Monday, August 8


The Columbia Borough Council will meet tomorrow, 
Monday, August 8th, at 7 p.m. at 
the Borough Office at 308 Locust Street. 


Those attending might even notice this guy 
(or at least his policies).

(Drawing by Cole Umber - All rights reserved.)



20 comments:

Anonymous said...

yeah...awesome drawing !

Cole said...

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

what? don't people get it ??

Anonymous said...

Here's what happened at this past Monday's Borough Council Meeting

The highlight of the meeting was when Jesse Klein presented council with a bill for over $1500 for lost wages due to the borough condemning his property Hotel Locust. Mr. Klein scolded council for condemning his property right away but a property a few doors up the street was not condemned when a piece of it fell off and injured a passerby. He also said he previously did everything he was directed to do by Jeff Helm. He said he did not replace the front windows on the hotel, because Jeff told him he was not allowed to, because they were historical. Norm Meiskey seemed surprised by this and said he would look into it. Klein said it happened at a lawyer's building about two and a half months ago and the police and ambulance were called to the scene. Klein's partner, Pam Lake, said property owners must be notified in writing before the borough can condemn their property. She said this was not done. Mary Barninger, who is on the safety committee, said they are not privy to everything that happens. Norm Meiskey also said the hotel was condemned until a registered professional engineer could inspect it and then had the code enforcement officer remove the notice. Klein said the borough should have condemned the hotel previously before he owned it because there were repairs that needed to be done including broken windows. He said Jeff Helm is not welcome in that building anymore. Klein said the borough is not promoting business. He also said the borough should eliminate paid parking on weekends.

Flora Eshelman from 5th Street complained about the AME Church blocking off 5th Street for a party when they could use the churchyard and Makle Park. Councilwoman Sandy Duncan basically defended shutting off the street and replied that the resident was “embedded in the African American community”. She said the church stores its trash at a house at 220 South 5th Street to be picked up on Wednesdays and this draws mice. She said she complains and the code enforcement officer comes out and looks but nothing is ever done.
Flora Eshleman also said children play around the area of the Makle Legion and that the building is in bad shape. She said she complained and Jeff Helm said he needs to hire an engineer to assess the building at taxpayer's expense.

Mayor Leo Lutz mentioned the picture of him that appeared recently on a local website.

Anonymous said...

I also was in attendance at the recent borough council meeting and was very interested in what Mr. Klein had to say. I strongly feel that his bill to the borough for lost income was far too low. When people (in general) see the word "condemned" with regard to a restaurant they read no further...that in itself is enough to damage his business for some time in the future. If there is any truth to the story about the building a few doors away from Hotel Locust having an incident regarding bricks falling and not being condemned, then I smell discrimination. With regard to Mary Barninger, she needs to get "privy" to what's going on if she is on the safety committee. If there was police presence at the scene, then they need to be reporting these types of incidents to Mary Barninger. Furthermore, it would be great to see the borough council members out walking around town, looking for problems first-hand and talking to the taxpayers that hired them. If you don't have time to devote to your position then give it up.

Cole said...

Thanks so much to everyone who posted information about the recent borough council meeting. I applaud your efforts.

It sounds as if there was a rush to judgment about the Hotel Locust issue, except there doesn't appear to have been much judgment at all (except maybe bad judgment). Why - if the borough is as business-friendly as it purports to be - would the borough manager immediately condemn a building instead of taking less drastic measures such as barricading the adjoining section of sidewalk to keep pedestrians off? Condemnation is an extreme and destructive action that caused Mr Klein to lose income for the time his business was forcibly closed. The closure may also have hurt his income long-term, i.e., by damaging the business's reputation.

I realize the borough manager may have been acting in the best interests of the community - in regard to safety - but why the double standard? A few months when a piece of debris allegedly fell from a building on Locust Street that houses lawyer's offices, the borough did not condemn the building. Even though – allegedly - a woman was injured by the falling debris to the point of needing immediate medical treatment. Why wasn't the borough manager contacted to render a judgment, even if the incident had occurred on a weekend?  What were the qualifications of the police officer who pronounced the building to be safe? (After all, Borough Manager Norm Meiskey stated that a registered professional engineer was needed to determine the safety of the Hotel Locust. Why was this not the case with the lawyers' building?) Did the fact that the building houses the law offices of Donald Nikolaus have any bearing on the decision?  After all, Mr Nikolaus is well-connected in the borough having served as its solicitor, and to the best of my knowledge, is still president of the Columbia Water Company. Surely, several members of the council must be rather warm acquaintances of his. (We wouldn't want to rattle his cage, now would we?) Whatever the case, council has done a great disservice to Mr Klein who states he was always quite compliant in abiding by the borough's requests when renovating the building.

Furthermore, to have all council members plead ignorance of the event at the lawyers' building strains credulity. To have Mary Barninger hide behind an excuse that council members aren't privy to such information is shameful. I need to ask why didn't she know, since the exterior of that building was temporarily in an unsafe condition (i.e., construction), and she is chairperson of the Public Safety Committee.

Anonymous said...

IF COUNCIL WANTED TO ONE OF THE "RIGHT THINGS" IT WOULD MAKE A RESOLUTION OR AN ORDINANCE THAT MAKES IT LEGAL, OFFICIAL, AND THE ONLY RIGHT THING TO DO -
EACH HOME OWNER, BY LAW, GETS THE 1 PARKING SPACE IN FRONT OF HIS OR HER HOUSE - JUST BECAUSE - BECAUSE OF THE AMOUNT OF TAXES WE MUST PAY INTHIS BORO. IT'S RIDICULOUS THAT MY LAZY NEIGHBOR (WHO HAS GARAGE AND OFF STREET PARKING) PARKS IN FORNT OF MY HOUSE (WHERE I PAY THE TAXES) EVERY SINGLE DAY......
OR PERMIT PARKING....NOW. WE NEED IT NOW.

Cole said...

Yes, I heartily concur.

Anonymous said...

I have been saying the very same thing for years! I am so happy that someone agrees with me. I say the borough should take one block and use it as a "test" for the parking spaces. Painting one space in front of each property address with actual lines and the door number. Each home has one space. If the homeowner has a second or third car, then it becomes his or her responsibility to seek out alternate parking. With the taxes I have been paying to live in this borough, I deserve a parking space reserved for me...especially in the winter when the snow piles sky high or when I bring a load of groceries home. This would solve some of the problems with residents placing chairs and other objects out in the winter to "mark" their parking spots. After working all day, I sure don't want to come home to find that the space I worked to shovel is taken by someone else. The cost to put this test project into motion would be minimal. I say that any landlords should be forced to create off street parking areas. The borough should be catering to residential homes rather than landlords. Secondly, the parking meters should never have to be slugged for the 4th Fridays. Why invite others to our community and then charge them to park? How much could the borough possibly be bringing in on those evenings. It would be worth waving the fees for parking to encourage visitation by quality citizens from other communities. Elevate this town.

Cole said...

Once again, I agree.

Anonymous said...

wow !!!! finally, someone who understands ! awesome. i agree 1,000 % with you on that. and the sooner they get startedc the better. that';s what i've n]=been saying. my neighbor - with no less than 4 cars will have to figure out where to park them or what to do - maybe use his garage and off street parking. maybe this would encourage others to create off street parking......amen. sign me up......woo hoo...hot diggity dog.....Mayor, Norm ARE YOU READING ????????? IF NOT YOU SHOULD BE.

Anonymous said...

i also agree. i say we need to start a petition or attend council mtgs and force change that would actually benefit the taxpaying home oooooowner!!! amen. let's start immediately. can you imagine. that would certainly put an end to a lot of bullshit from IGNORANT, LAZY, NO COMMON SENSE NEIGHBORS.......

Anonymous said...

sign our block up too !!! we use our garage. our neighbor does not. plus they also have a couple off street parking spaces they do NOT use. we have elderly, toddlers, etc. people are lazy and ignorant. why on earth do they think they DESERVE to park in front of mY house EVERY DAY ???

Anonymous said...

Columbia homes were built in a time when most people were lucky to have even one car. Now most homes have at least two. If they have teens at home, then it turns into 3 or 4 cars. Columbia needs to change with the times, it is no longer the day and age of one car homes. This is a problem with living in the borough. High taxes and no parking. Each ward could invest in the purchase of one or two older homes to be demolished for parking. This could handle the overflow if people were unable to create off street parking at any given home for reasons beyond their control. One "on-street" parking spot designated per address. No fighting in the winter about who shoveled what space, no need to mark or claim it with a chair. There are a lot of nice homes in areas that I wouldn't think of buying all because of parking. Who wants to fight about that all the time? A great place to live is comprised of happy residents that respect one another. Lets get together and start making the changes necessary to make Columbia a great place to live.

Anonymous said...

i have to say i agree too. i also have ignorant, lazy, couldn't care less neighbors who seenothing wrong with parking in fornt of MY house EVERY DAY ! they DON"T pay taxes at my address. Really. Real simple. Let's get this process started. Councilpersons - it's time for all of you to step it up....

Cole said...

All valid points. But I don't know how many councilpersons read this blog. These concerns should be voiced at the next council meeting.

Anonymous said...

i agree. i hope that some of you and i show up on september 12 at 7 .....the taxpayers have spoken, it's more than about time the boro did something right.

Anonymous said...

we the taxpayers MUST take a stand. attend mtgs. DEMAND this. WE are the ones who pay the taxes, we are the ones who pay for all these renters children to attend our schools (that's why we needed to do what $ 12 million or more expansion at the high school...when will you GET IT ?

Anonymous said...

i strongly agree too. this is the VERY least that should happen. it's a NO BRAINER. the parking space infront of each residence should belong weith that residence. the neighbor who has 4 or 5 cars will have to park em in the garage or off st parking or rent a garage...how awesome

Anonymous said...

i agree 110 %. one way to rid this town of the possibly hundreds of illegal vehicles-not registered or not inspected or no insurance....this is the VERY least they could do. parking is a HUGE problem and the amt of taxes we pay, it's about time to get just a tiny smidgeon in return...it only makes sense....it's not to hard to figure it out.norm, leo, council - are you reading this????

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