Friday, April 17, 2020

The impact of a pandemic on local government

In the past 5 weeks, the United States has seen a booming economy come to a screeching halt thanks to COVID-19. Just this morning, LNP-LancasterOnline reported that Lancaster County's unemployment rate is 17.9%, twice the rate of the Great Depression nearly a century ago.

More than 51,000 people in the county are out of work.

This raises a question. What impact does that have on borough government?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A requirement to hold public meetings: COVID-19 version

UPDATED 10 a.m. April 17 to change the photo.

As I was writing this post, I discovered a PA Post article from today about the state Senate's having passed legislation to allow for municipalities to hold remote meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the legislation removes the requirement that a quorum of members have to be physically present for other members to participate via phone or videoconference.

This is good news, especially after last week when we on Borough Council held our April 2 work session with a quorum of four members physically present and two members and the mayor Zooming in, as it were. For the record, the Elizabethtown Area School Board and the Elizabethtown Area Water Authority board (of which I am a member) held remote meetings last week, but they are governed by different state laws than municipalities.

Monday, April 6, 2020

I wore a mask to the grocery store

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf strongly recommended that people should wear face masks when they are out and about. This is supposed to be prevent droplets of moisture that might carry the COVID-19 virus from infecting us.

So I donned this one before heading out to the local Giant Food Store this morning.

I bought two masks years ago at J.B. Hostetter & Sons hardware store to wear when I mulch leaves in the fall. This is the spare that I had on hand. It works just fine, with one complaint: I can't wear my glasses over top of it, so my breathing fogs up my glasses.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Strange times in E-town: 3 weeks of COVID-19 observations

I experienced more than a little foreshadowing three weeks ago.

As the Elizabethtown Area Middle School track coach, I happened to be in the athletic office at the high school on Friday, March 13, at about 2:20 p.m. when Principal Maura Hobson interrupted with an announcement.

Students, she said, should take all of their books, Chromebooks and any other academic materials home with them "in case of a prolonged school closure."

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Documenting parking in downtown Elizabethtown

Everyone always talks about how there’s no parking in downtown Elizabethtown, or that parking is problematic.

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about it.

So I’m here to dispel the myth. Because it is a myth. And we don’t need to tear down the Moose Building and construct a parking garage.