Beltrante
Beltrante

York City mayoral candidate Joe Beltrante is disputing the argument of two residents who filed a petition Tuesday formally protesting Beltrante's eligibility to hold that office.

According to petitioners Meg Hill-Grigson and Charlotte Bergdoll, Beltrante does not meet the requirement that a mayoral candidate "shall have been a resident of the city throughout one year immediately preceding his election."

At least as recently as Nov. 6, 2012, Beltrante must have lived outside the city, their petition states.

That's when Beltrante voted at a precinct in Manchester Township - something he does not dispute.

This year's election is scheduled for November 5. That means, according to Hill-Grigson and Bergdoll, Beltrante couldn't meet the residency requirement even if he moved to the city on the same day he voted in Manchester Township.

In their petition, the two Democrats also point to tax records that show Beltrante receives tax relief through the Homestead & Farmstead Exclusion program at his 708 Aslan Dr. residence in Manchester Township. Homeowners can receive a property-tax reduction for their primary residence only.

Hill-Grigson and Bergdoll are asking a judge to declare Beltrante ineligible to be mayor this year.

Beltrante is seeking the Democratic nomination for the job. His competition at the primary level includes current Mayor Kim Bracey and York City Council President Carol Hill-Evans.

Bergdoll declined to say who she is supporting for the nomination but said she thinks both Bracey and Hill-Evans are capable of holding the office, and voters' choice should be between them.

She called Beltrante's attempt to run for mayor "ludicrous."

Beltrante, who said in an earlier interview that he lives part-time in the city at a home on South Queen Street, declined Tuesday to directly answer a question about how much time he spends there on a weekly basis.

He said the voters he's met while campaigning don't care where he lives.

"How many nights a week do I spend there? Honestly, I travel a lot," he said. "I could live on the moon. The only thing people really care about is what my ideas are."

Questions and criticism of his residency are "kind of like noise," Beltrante said.

"How many nights a week I spend over on Queen Street, I don't think people care about that," he said.

As for voting in Manchester Township last year, Beltrante said that's true. But, he said, he lived in the city at that time.

"I didn't change my voter registration in time," he said.

Beltrante said his driver's license and all of his tax documents are tied to the Queen Street residence - except the Homestead reduction paperwork.

"But that doesn't mean I'm not living at Queen Street. That means I incorrectly filed my Homestead reduction," he said. "If there's some technicality or a glitch, or if I need to update that, I can certainly do that."

- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.