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York City to hold special council meeting

Sean Philip Cotter
  • York City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday.
  • Council is doing this so they can vote on a bill the following Tuesday.
  • The bill amends contracts with municipalities for wastewater treatment service from the city.

York City Council announced on Friday that it will have a previously unscheduled meeting on Tuesday — one that will probably only last a few minutes.

An aerial view of the York City Wastewater Treatment Plant on Black Bridge Road in Manchester Township.

The council's holding the special meeting — which will be at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall — to introduce a bill amending its agreements with the surrounding municipalities that contract wastewater treatment services from the city. Bills have to be introduced at least a week before they can be voted on, so this allows the council to vote on the bill at the next regular meeting, which is July 19, rather than the following one, which isn't until Aug. 16, according to council president Carol Hill-Evans.

Hill-Evans said that will be the extent of the meeting — council members will introduce the bill and then wrap things up. They don't plan to have any discussion on it on Tuesday; they'll do that the next Tuesday, July 19, when they plan to vote on the bill, she said.

"It's really only going to be like three minutes," Hill-Evans said.

The council's agenda for this special meeting, put out Friday morning, says the bill is still being finalized, so it's not available yet.

Michael Doweary, the city's business administrator, said the bill will not make many structural changes to the agreement. He said it's just a modernization of the agreements, updating the language within them.

"None of the financial stuff is changing," he said.

York City, through its sewer authority, owns and manages the municipality's wastewater treatment plant. The surrounding boroughs of North York and West York and the townships of Spring Garden, York, West Manchester and Manchester all contract wastewater treatment services from the city.

Sewer bids move forward for York City

Doweary said the city has separate agreements with all of those municipalities, but they're all exactly the same, and this bill would amend them all in the same ways.

One of the reasons for some haste in this matter — having the special meeting so the city can get this done in a couple of weeks rather than waiting until mid-August — is that the city has been going through the "asset-monetization" process with its sewer system — it's looking into selling it off.

The city technically could go ahead with the monetization without updating the agreements, Doweary said, but this has been an "open issue" for several years now, and the city wants to wrap it up before moving forward.

"We decided to finish this agreement and then go back into the process," Doweary said.

If the city does opt to sell off the system, which includes the wastewater treatment plant and the various pipes that lead to it, it would then lease services from whatever company it sells it to.

The special meeting was scheduled for the last possible day it could have been for the bill to be considered at the July 19 meeting. Jason Sabol, one of the city's solicitors, pointed to a city ordinance that lays out the rules for that; it says that a bill must be advertised seven to 21 days before final passage.

The next regular meeting is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, at York City Hall, 101 S. George St.

— Reach Sean Cotter or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.