The Columbia Borough Council held its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on October 13, 2014, at Borough Hall, 308 Locust Street. Highlights of the meeting are as follows:
Mayor Leo Lutz asked Police Chief Jack Brommer to introduce newly hired police officer Amy Kuhrmann. Kuhrmann was raised in Maryland and attended Alvernia College.
[A decision was made previously not to apply for the grant for a school resource officer, due to required funding after grant money runs out.] Lutz spoke of the need for a school resource officer. He cited incidents in local schools involving fighting and assault. He said he had attended a football game two weeks previous, in which several skateboarders were disruptive. He said a school resource officer could help address such issues. Lutz praised School District Superintendent Carol Powell, saying she is the right choice for the job. He cited her words, "There's a new sheriff in town," but added that every sheriff needs a deputy [in terms of a resource officer].
Chief Brommer said, "Adding a school resource officer would not only assist the department, but it would most certainly assist the school with controlling many issues that occur there."
The grant for the resource officer would have been for one year, with the potential to renew itself without reapplication; in essence, it could be a two-year grant. The grant would cover salary and benefits up to $60,000. After grant funds run out, the program must be continued for three to four years. Continued funding beyond the grant was the deciding factor in not pursuing the program.
Lutz said local organizations had raised $13,000 to replace a section of fence on the Park School playground that the school said it could not afford to replace. He cited this example to show that the borough has been helping the district and that they could meet the borough halfway on the resource officer issue.
Lutz referred to an issue raised by Ron "Ollie" Fritz at one of the previous meetings regarding school funding. [The link is HERE. Go to "Citizen Comments (Non-Agenda Items Only)."] Lutz said he has been working with State Senator Mike Brubaker, State Rep. Dave Hickernell, and others on the issue. He said it is a state issue, not just a Columbia Borough issue.
"If this is the way things are going to be, it's almost time to take the keys up to Harrisburg, to the department of education, hand them over, and say, 'Here, you do it. We can't do it no more,' and maybe that'll start something and get something moving," Lutz said.
Changing topics, Lutz said that a group of Lancaster County mayors, of which he is a member, have been meeting for about a year, regarding the heroin issue. "It's at epidemic proportions," he said. Lutz said the mayors have created a heroin task force and have started enlisting partners such as Lancaster General Hospital and others. He said the effort would entail an enforcement side as well as a prevention/educational side to educate parents and children. He said ages 18-40 have been the hardest hit by the epidemic.
Committee on Public Property
Information about the discussion of a purchase of a fire police vehicle can be found HERE.
Wastewater Treatment Plant
Council raised the question of alternative uses for the wastewater treatment plant in anticipation of the LASA sale. Borough Manager Sam Sulkosky mentioned the possibility of using plant as a hauled waste facility. He also said various callers had expressed interest in purchasing the plant. Sulkosky suggested undertaking feasibility studies on what the potential alternative uses of the plant could be. He said the asset is worth a few million dollars to the borough. Council voted to investigate alternative uses for the plant.
Committee on Public Safety
Council approved using $3,668 from the fire department radio fund to upgrade the borough's Knox Box system to make it compatible with the new radio system,
Information on consolidation issues discussed at the meeting can be found HERE.
Committee on Highway
Councillor Jim Smith said Ron Miller will present a 5-, 10-, and 20-year road plan at November's Committee of the Whole meeting.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Sunday, October 19, 2014
A prayer walk for Columbia Schools concluded with a cleanup of Locust Street Park on Sunday afternoon. Organizer Brenda Petroski of Vision Columbia and about two dozen volunteers walked from the gazebo to Columbia's various schools and back again, offering prayers for unity and an end to bullying, among other issues.
Vision Columbia Pastor Clair Good talks to Brenda Petroski at Locust Street Park
Volunteers helping with cleanup . . .