Columbia taxpayers want to oust current council members

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COLUMBIA, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Neighbors in Lancaster County are taking their local government into their own hands.

Concerned citizens gathered in Columbia Sunday afternoon to find out what they have to do to run for borough council.

Four - that is how many council seats are up for grabs in Columbia, Lancaster County come November.

Inside a home on Chestnut Street, there wasn't a single open one.

"There is a need basically to have candidates on democratic side and republican side to replace those people who presently do not listen to the residents and taxpayers of this community," said Norm Meiskey, a former borough manager.

"This is a concerned citizens group. We're concerned about Columbia," said Fran Rasch, a taxpayer.

They took those concerns to couches.

"So much has gone on behind closed doors, that everyone is concerned it's going to continue that way, and I think we're out to prove to them, that it's not going to continue," added Rasch.

That fear has been fueled by a roughly 21 percent tax hike as well as the passing of an ordinance last year.

That ordinance helps fund low interest loans for businesses that want to invest in Columbia, which the council president has defended. 

Neighbors protested both; they collected more than 1,100 signatures against the hike and ordinance.

Council didn't budge.

"The fact remains is what was done in my opinion is definitely wrong, and that the borough is being mismanaged," added Meiskey.

A room full of people said they are determined to make it right this election year.

"They have gone to the town meetings and the council borough meetings, and they don't ever have a turnout like this, and the town is getting involved. They're becoming aware," said Rose Weaver who says she is planning to run for council.

"There was a saying, and there is still saying, 'we are the tide, the mighty mighty tide,' and I'd like to say, 'we are Columbia, mighty mighty Columbia,'" said Rasch.

Council will meet Tuesday, January 22.

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