Columbia Borough police car

This photo from December 2018 shows a Columbia Borough Police car. 

When: Columbia Borough Council meeting, Nov. 10.

What happened: Council voted to advertise amendments to the borough civil service commission’s rules and regulations. The changes amended the grounds for disqualifying police department applicants, as well as disciplining police officers. The most substantial changes make it possible for a police officer to be suspended, removed or demoted based on “engaging or participating in the conduct of a political or election campaign while on duty or in uniform or while using borough property otherwise than to exercise the person’s own right of suffrage,” and “engaging or participating in the conduct of a political or election campaign for an incompatible office.” The change was made “on advice of counsel and had nothing to do with any incidents,” Borough Council President Heather Zink said after the meeting.

Ordinances: Council voted to advertise amending Columbia’s code of ordinances, after unclear language in the previous version caused the borough to lose a court hearing over a $500 fine.

Background: At the Nov. 5 meeting, Borough Manager Mark Stivers said because of unclear language, an attorney representing an individual who breached the code successfully argued the borough could issue his client only a $25 fine.

Why it matters: Council agreed to remove all fees from the code and place them in a separate fee schedule to be adopted in January. The amended ordinance also includes other changes to remove inconsistencies.

Police officer resignation: Council approved patrol officer Justin Barrell’s resignation from the police department, and also approved directing staff to hire a replacement.

Stream restoration payments: Council approved a $198,285 payment to Aquatic Resource Restoration Co. for the Shawnee Run stream restoration project. Council also approved a $14,500 change order for extra tree clearing that took place.