West York council wants tax hike, but president disagrees


West York's borough council has approved a preliminary budget for 2016, and the council president was the only person voting against it.

The proposed budget would increase property taxes by 1 mill next year, increasing from 7.5 mills to 8.5 mills.

A 1-mill property tax hike would require the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 to pay $100 more per year.

Even with the tax increase, the borough faces a $307,450 deficit that the budget calls for taking from the borough's sewer fund, said council president Garret Wampler.

"I think it's a slippery slope once you just start expecting the taxpayers pockets to get deeper and deeper whenever you need money," he said.

Wampler said higher tax rates will decrease property values.

"We need to consider more than the immediate future, because we can't expect that every time a cost goes up that we can just reach into the taxpayers' pockets..." he said.

Councilman Brian Wilson said he voted for the budget just to get it out to the public, but he is still reviewing it and does not have an opinion of it yet.

Councilman Nick Laughman declined to speak about his vote.

"Whether I agree with it or not, it's still got to be advertised," he said.

Comments: Residents are invited to look at the budget and make public comments.

The budget will be placed for advertisement Friday and can be viewed at the borough offices, 1700 W. Philadelphia St., from Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The budget will be up for adoption at the council's Dec. 7 meeting.

Previous issues: Wampler said after the meeting that talks with the police union are ongoing.

The council and police officers have previously discussed lowering the cost of the borough's police force by renegotiating some parts of the union contract. Wampler did not confirm if negotiations are being discussed.

Upcoming: During an August council meeting, York Water Co. CEO Jeffrey Hines approached the council with the idea of buying the sewer system. The council liked the idea and voted to put the system out for bid.

Wampler said the bidding process is still ongoing and the council will review bids at the next meeting, Monday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com