Man, 88, killed in early morning blaze

York County commissioner candidates take on taxes


Five candidates — two Democrats, two Republicans and an Independent — are vying for three open seats on the York County Board of Commissioners in the Nov. 3 election.

The candidates are Republicans Chris Reilly, an incumbent, and Susan Byrnes, a health activist; Democrats Doug Hoke, an incumbent, and Henry Nixon, a York City councilman; and incumbent Steve Chronister, who is running as an independent.

As part of The York Dispatch's election coverage, we posed three questions to the candidates. Their answers to one question were published weekly leading up to the election. This is the final part of that series.

When those elected commissioner take office in 2016, the president commissioner will make $89,730 annually, and the other two commissioners will be paid $86,525 each.

Question: The last county-wide reassessment took effect nearly a decade ago. Is it time for the county to do another reassessment? Why or why not?

Doug Hoke, Democrat

Age: 64

Family: Single

Occupation: York County commissioner

Education: West York Area High School, bachelor's degree in history and political science from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri

Community involvement: South Central Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board, York County Convention and Visitor Bureau, Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area, volunteer at Aseracare Hospice, St. Stephens UCC

Answer: I do not support a county-wide real estate reassessment at this time. York County's ratio is currently above the 80 percent to value and does not meet the required threshold for reassessment. Also, the reassessment may cost $.5 to $2 million, and I do not think it would be prudent to spend this amount of money until necessary.

Henry Nixon, Democrat

Age: 67

Family: Wife, Barbara; 3 children and a foster son

Occupation: York City Council

Education: Bachelor's degree, Gettysburg College

Community involvement: Community Progress Council, board chair; Leadership York; York Symphony Orchestra; Rotary Club of York

Answer: A reassessment costs our taxpayers from $1.5 to $2 million. The county's assessment rate is well above the threshold which triggers a reassessment. There is no need for a reassessment at this time.

Susan P. Byrnes, Republican

Age: 64

Family: Husband, Randy, and three children

Occupation: Community volunteer

Education: R.N., associate degree Penn State University, honorary doctorate of humane letters, York College

Community involvement: Founder of Byrnes Health Education Center, president of Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing & Peace Garden, president of York County Veterans Outreach

Answer: The estimated cost to conduct a reassessment of York County real estate would be $2 million. I do not see a reassessment as a priority at this time

Christopher B. Reilly, Republican

Age: 53

Family: Wife, Lisa, and three children

Occupation: York County commissioner

Education: Bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland

Community involvement: Member of HACC-York Advisory Council and York County Parks Charitable Trust board

Answer: We use the common level ratio (CLR) as a benchmark for potential reassessments. We are currently at a favorable CLR number. In my estimation, a county-wide reassessment is not necessary at this time.

Steve Chronister, independent

Age: 62

Family: Wife, Julie, and three children

Occupation: York County commissioner

Education: York Catholic High School, PGA of America

Community involvement: None at this time

Answer: It is not time for the county to do another reassessment, as we are maintaining an excellent common level ratio. Tax assessments are done to bring fairness in paying taxes to every resident. As many residents may believe, it is not a back door way of raising taxes.

— Reach Greg Gross at