York City Police Chief Wes Kahley didn't know until Saturday how many officers he'd be supervising this year.
Though it could have been worse, Kahley said he is disappointed the city's 2012 budget reduces the police force from 109 to 106 officers. The staffing crunch will likely mean fewer officers dedicated to neighborhood patrolling units, Kahley said.
"The problem is when you compare us to the other third-class cities around the state, we're already well below the manpower that these other cities have," Kahley said. "We're already working at a bare bones minimum."
No officers will lose their jobs as a result of the budget, which the York City Council approved and Mayor Kim Bracey signed Saturday after last-minute negotiations resolved an impasse that threatened to shut down city government.
To balance the budget, city officials agreed to hike property taxes by 17 percent.
With an annual budget of more than $18 million, York's police department requires more tax dollars than any other department by far. As such, it was a target for cuts during the 2012 budget talks.
Several council members expressed support for more drastic police cuts, including the elimination of as many as eight officers. Bracey pushed back, saying she would veto a budget that compromised public safety.
In the end, the two sides agreed not to fill three of five currently vacant police officer jobs.
Here's a look at other areas of the budget that had been targeted for cuts:
**Fire Department: The city's fire department will operate with three fewer firefighters in 2012, a cost-cutting measure proposed by Bracey in November and approved by the council Saturday.
The three positions became vacant in 2011 through attrition. The cuts leave the department with 61 firefighters.
Several council members proposed cutting more firefighter jobs during budget debates, but Bracey said she would not sign a budget that further reduced the force.
**Human Relations Commission: The small department that investigates allegations of discrimination in the city became a target for cost-cutting when Councilman Henry Nixon proposed abolishing the commission, potentially saving about $140,000.
Nixon's proposal won little support from other council members, but they did consider smaller cuts.
For a savings of about $15,000, the council ultimately decided to eliminate the commission's executive director position and replace it with an investigator.
**Martin Library: The York City Council passed an ordinance in 2010 that set the city's minimum annual contribution to Martin Library at $1 per city resident. The $41,000 expense was included in Bracey's original 2012 budget proposal.
However, the city's financial support of the library became the subject of debate during budget talks.
In the end, the council passed and the mayor signed a budget that cuts the city's contribution to 50 cents per resident. That decision requires a pending change in the 2010 city ordinance that established the minimum amount, which the council plans to address at its meeting Tuesday.
**White Rose Community Television: The station that televises public meetings and local events found itself on the chopping block for the second year in a row, but managed to escape unscathed.
City officials expressed optimism that an ongoing fundraising appeal would continue to lead the station to self-sufficiency. Councilwoman Renee Nelson had advocated pulling the city's financial support of the station.
**Business administration: Making the case that the city's finance department is inadequately staffed, Bracey proposed creating two new positions. At a salary of $55,000, the deputy business administrator would have served as an assistant to business administrator Michael O'Rourke.
However, the position was cut from the budget during last-minute negotiations between Bracey and the council. An accountant position survived the budget process.
**Health Bureau: The bureau's multi-million dollar budget is primarily funded with grants, but the city provides about $200,000 from its general fund.
Councilwoman Carol Hill-Evans proposed cutting the city's health funding in half, but the idea did not receive support from other council members.
**Newsletter: To save about $18,000 in the tax-supported general fund, city officials agreed to discontinue York's newsletter.
**Youth programs: Council members had considered cuts to youth summer-camp and tutoring programs, but the idea was abandoned once it was determined that there would be no effect on the city's general fund.
**Employee salaries: Bracey had proposed a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for non-union employees, which includes department directors and the mayor. The final budget cut the raise to 1 percent.
- Reach Erin James at 505-5439 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ydcity.