Five Democrats run unchallenged in city election


In Tuesday's election, three Democrats are running uncontested for three seats on city council.

Carol Hill-Evans, the council's president, and Michael Helfrich are running to keep their seats. Sandie Walker is running to replace Councilman David Satterlee, who decided not to run again this year.

"No one has filed any intent to run as a write-in," Nikki Suchanic, director of York County's Department of Elections and Voter Registration, said on Wednesday.

Legally, they wouldn't have to, she said.

Candidates agreed that taxes need to be lowered and economic development and employment for city residents must be priorities.

Hill-Evans: "I hope that we can expect a slight tax reduction (next year)," said two-term veteran Carol Hill-Evans. "We're not anticipating any tax increases."

Another of her concerns is that the council pass only legislation that is enforcable and to see laws already on the books enforced.

"I want to see the Neighborhood Improvement Ordinance, which we passed last year, enforced," she said, noting that the ordinance was intended to increase the cleanliness of the city.

Hill-Evans, who said she has spent her career as a human-resources professional and now works as a recruiter at Bell Socialization Services, said her professional background gives her an opportunity to make residents aware of available jobs.

She is concerned that many York residents have trouble finding a job because they don't have enough education or training — "Even entry-level jobs require at least a high-school diploma or G.E.D.," she said.

She said the council should encourage cooperation between the city and the York City School District to enable vocational training to take place in school buildings in the evenings.

Helfrich: Helfrich, who won his first four years on council in 2011 as a write-in, said he also sees jobs for city residents as a high priority.

Crime is "just a symptom of the lack of opportunities for our youth," he said. "That's why we have to work harder to get career and job-training services into every neighborhood." Job-training classes should welcome in ex-convicts — "people who have made mistakes" — as well as the city's youth.

Helfrich, who works as the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, said the city's youth programs and activities aren't reaching as many at-risk children as they should because of poor communication and lack of organization.

Underlying the issues of crime and a struggling school district is the specter of high taxes, he said.

High property taxes keep businesses away and drive out homeowners, he said, and if they don't come down the city will not get the type of development it needs to bring jobs.

Walker: Sandie Walker, an e-commerce professional, said she worked for the city for six years, first as a health education specialist and then as a youth program coordinator for the Department of Parks and Recreation.

"The city is taxed out. In lieu of raising taxes, we need to build a good working relationship with nonprofits," she said, noting that payments in lieu of taxes are a good way to increase revenue.

She said council members should maintain a good relationship with the police department and promote the city to help it become more prosperous.

"The first year (on city council), I'll learn what needs to be done, meet with department heads, communicate with people and develop relationships," she said.

Other offices: City treasurer and controller positions are also up for a vote and, like the three city council seats, will most likely be filled by unchallenged Democrats.

Joe Jefcoat, who is running for treasurer, said that when current treasurer Karin Krebs decided she wouldn't run for the office again, she recommended he run.

Jefcoat, who is president of the Downtown East neighborhood association and treasurer of Old Towne East, said he's been involved in the financial oversight of many organizations.

Robert Fizel Lambert, director of business development at Martin Library, is running for a third term as city controller. He relishes being able to "regularly question city spending, contracts and other decisions" and hold elected officials accountable, he said.

"As a lifelong city resident, I have always valued strong and independent oversight operation for city finances and transparency," he said in an email.

— Reach Julia Scheib at