Bracey
Bracey

Let the number crunching begin.

Having concluded a week of hearing 2014 budget proposals from department directors, York City Mayor Kim Bracey said she plans to submit her own budget proposal to the York City Council no later than the council's Nov. 19 meeting.

The challenge now is to balance the city's 2014 expenses and revenues - setting aside money for the most necessary expenses and avoiding a property-tax increase in the process.

That remains the goal, Bracey said Friday.

"I'm still stuck on that," she said.

Last year, for the 2013 budget, the city did not hike property taxes - only the second time that's happened since 2004. But the year before, property owners swallowed a 17 percent increase in municipal taxes.

Bracey, who is seeking re-election Nov. 5 to a new four-year term, said she has again asked department directors to hold the city's budget at 2010 levels.

Proposals: However, the week's budget hearings revealed several significant expenses that the mayor and the council will have to fund or do without.

For example, the manager of the city's sewer system proposed a $1 million construction project to replace 1 percent of the city's sewer pipes. Also, the city's director of information systems is proposing a $600,000 purchase of a new financial-management system.

Bracey said she'll consider that expense if the purchase is at least partially offset by a possible grant.

On the revenue side, business administrator Michael O'Rourke said he might propose implementation of the distressed pension earned income tax, which would allow the city to collect a tax from people who work in the city but live elsewhere.

The mayor and the council must agree on a balanced 2014 budget before midnight Jan. 1.

City Council President Carol Hill-Evans said the five-member council will hold its own series of yet-to-be-scheduled budget hearings after receiving the mayor's proposal.

- Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.