The 2012 New Year s Eve celebration included a performance by the group Groove Jones. Without sponsors, this year s event might not happen.
The 2012 New Year s Eve celebration included a performance by the group Groove Jones. Without sponsors, this year s event might not happen. (Randy Flaum photo)

There's still time to save York City's annual New Year's Eve celebration, but the clock is ticking fast.

Last year, city officials approved a spending plan that cut the downtown tradition from the budget for the first time in many years. The celebration, which typically costs about $35,000 to put on, had become a drain on the cash-strapped city's finances.

But, with 2012 coming to an end, the reality of that decision has some people reconsidering the possibilities.

Jim Gross, the city's public works director, said Tuesday that he's gotten some inquiries recently from people potentially interested in footing part of the bill.

But, he said, "Nobody's written a check yet."

"We don't have a whole lot of time," he said.

If no one steps forward, there won't be a chance to see the White Rose take a plunge downtown at midnight this year.

Gross said city officials have kicked around the idea of hosting a scaled-down celebration, perhaps with fewer fireworks, lighting or entertainment.

But, Gross said, that's likely to cost a minimum of $20,000, and not a penny has been committed.

Soon, it'll be too late to book entertainment, he added.

New Year's Eve was one victim of a particularly contentious budget debate last year. The loss of the annual tradition paled in comparison to a 17 percent tax increase and cuts to the police and fire departments.

That doesn't make it any less sad, Mayor Kim Bracey said Tuesday.

The mayor said her administration will continue to look for sponsorships. But, Bracey said, she couldn't justify spending tax dollars on an event.

"The bottom line is, we are charged with running a city government," Bracey said. "We're sad. But at the same time, we would like to keep the lights on."

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