Taxpayers angry over tax hike in Columbia

COLUMBIA, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. --  Dozens of people who live in a Lancaster County community are petitioning their local government.

Some taxpayers in Columbia are not happy about a tax hike recently approved in the borough.

Their biggest weapon right now is signatures.

Some people walked door to door Thursday afternoon and evening; others stood out in the rain for hours.

They gathered as many signatures as they could against the increase.

Some taxpayers made it very clear how they feel about borough council's decision to hike taxes.

"They can all go f*** themselves. They all need to be voted out," said Robert Fritsch of Columbia.

Fritsch believes he will be paying the borough around $500 more in property taxes next year.

Council approved a roughly 20 percent increase earlier this month.

"Everything goes up. What you pay your people goes up, the cost of gas, electric, the cost of you knowing, maintaining your buildings," said Kelly Murphy, president of borough council.

Murphy says they have to fund those costs, a program that helps people place a down payment on a house, and low interest loans for businesses looking to invest in Columbia or better their product.

"Other businesses in town may want to improve, maybe do some additional hiring," he said, adding those businesses could bring more tax dollars into the borough.

Dozens of taxpayers FOX43 spoke with aren't concerned about those businesses.

"That's not my problem. Go to a God d*** bank!" added Fritsch.

"I just think it's wrong to use taxpayer dollars for private businesses to profit," said Sharon Lintner, a taxpayer.

Taxpayers petitioned the increase; some gathered signatures at busy local spots. Others rallied support against the increase from the comfort of home.

Those with a pen in hand agreed on one thing.

"When you're living on one social security check, and you have a house, and you're paying the heating bill and the utilities, just about the whole check is dissolved as soon as you get it," explained Nissley.

"A lot of people live paycheck to check, you know, a lot of people in this town do... they can't afford that," stated Fritsch.

This past year, Columbia Borough had the second highest property tax rate in Lancaster County behind Lancaster City.

"I don't feel they need to go higher. We're high enough. They need to stop spending," added Lintner.

Some are worried about how much more they could be paying in the future.

"Twenty percent doesn't sound bad! Where does it end?!" exclaimed Nissley.

Petitioners attempted to gather 1,000 signatures which is about 10 percent of the borough's population. They plan to bring those signatures to council and hope it's enough to change council members' minds.

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