Dozens of local residents packed Columbia’s historic Watch and Clock Museum yesterday to talk about some things that are important to them in their community.
Front and center was a recent ordinance enacted by Borough Council to approve “a commercial revolving loan program” where borough money is loaned to private business owners.
This contentious policy, in conjunction with a $2.4 million shortfall in the borough budget, has residents worried.
In order to really address the problem, these concerned citizens have formed their own group, and retained legal counsel. In the borough council’s January 22 meeting, borough council president Kelly Murphy confirmed via a written statement read aloud that the York firm had presented challenges on the loan program.
On Sunday the citizen’s group met to talk about next steps, enrolled members and elect officers.
Some suggested that programs partly initiated by the Borough manager could be at fault for some of the spending.
They also raised concerns about the Borough’s legal counsel and whether or not the Columbia borough solicitor had signed off on the lending program.
Why is the borough of Columbia spending money to fund private businesses?
Many residents are outraged at the tax burden that will result, and at policy going back many months.
Sharon Lintner, one resident who spoke at Sunday’s meeting, has also questioned a prior funding effort by the board to pay a new employee, as chronicled in this LNP story from January. Unsurprisingly, the state DA declined to present charges, but said that a repeat offense would trigger an investigation.
As for the “paper of record,” no reporters were on hand Sunday, although WGAL attended. GTKYF scooped LNP and we’ll continue to stay on top of this issue.
Let’s keep an eye on what’s going on here – after all, residents have a right to know what their tax dollars will be spent on, especially when they face big increases, and everything that a council does needs to be transparent and above board.