Jeff Kirkland had questions for York City officials about an abandoned property near his home. But first he made brief comments about a bitter issue.
He told Mayor Kim Bracey that the city should accept Wednesday's ruling - made by York County Common Pleas Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh - that city councilman Michael Helfrich, 42, is eligible for public office despite his conviction of a felony two decades ago.
Helfrich, who was elected in November, was 20 years old when he pleaded guilty in 1991 to two state felony charges of possession of and conspiracy to deliver drugs.
Bracey had challenged Helfrich's eligibility and has yet to determine whether she will appeal the decision. However, Kirkland asked Bracey to drop the issue, saying that the city has had enough division and now needs to focus on resolving issues facing residents.
"Let's let the legal decision ride and get on with the business of the city," Kirkland said. "It would be detrimental to revisit the issue."
The mayor did not respond to Kirkland, who then went on to discuss property issues.
Kirkland's comments were made during Bracey's town hall meeting held Thursday at the city's new municipal building at 101 S. George St. Close to two dozen people attended.
After the meeting, Bracey said that she has not yet had a chance to read Linebaugh's opinion or discuss it with solicitors to determine whether to appeal the decision. She said she would release a statement on the matter after she reviews the opinion.
Helfrich was at the meeting, but did not discuss the issue.
During the meeting, attendees heard presentations from Business Administrator Michael O'Rourke, Recreation, Parks and Sanitation Superintendent Tom Landis, Police Chief Wes Kahley, Deputy Fire Chief Greg Halpin, and Kevin Schreiber, who leads the economic development and community development departments.
City officials heard from several residents, including Anna Mae Foller, a Wallace Street resident who lives near the houses at 620, 622 and 624 that burned on April 26, 2011.
The houses at 622 and 624 Wallace St. were purchased by Helen Thackston Charter School, which has plans to demolish them to make room for a parking lot. However, Foller's house is attached to 620 Wallace St., and the owner has yet to show up to deal with the property. She said the process to tear down the building is taking too long.
Kevin Schreiber, the city's economic and community development director, explained that the city's Redevelopment Authority has started an eminent domain process on 620, but a court must approve the taking.
After the meeting, Foller said she was pleased with the town hall meeting and is satisfied that the city is diligently working to resolve the Wallace Street issue.
"(City officials) are willing to listen and explain things," she said. "We get uptight about it, but you still have to follow the rules, even if the rules makes everything take longer."
-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.