West York mayor suggests cutting trash collection; records show he owes thousands in refuse fees
West York Mayor Bruce Vick suggested cutting trash pickup services in the borough to save money, even though public records indicate he owes the borough $6,500 in refuse payments dating back to 2012.
Vick asked at a Sept. 8 borough council meeting if it would be an option to reduce trash pickup to once per week instead of twice per week.
The suggestion was a response to borough manager Shawn Mauck's presentation showing that borough residents owe $284,000 in unpaid refuse fees, including $68,000 from this year alone.
"Everybody falls on hard times," Mauck said, adding that the borough tries to work with people where they are financially.
But the goal is ultimately to collect as much past-due revenue as possible, he said.
When residents don't pay their refuse bills, Mauck said, the borough still has to pay its service provider, Republic Services, and that money comes out of the general fund.
Republic charges the borough about $41,300 per month for trash pickup. The borough charges residents a quarterly bill of $75 per household or $75 per unit in a multi-unit dwelling.
Mauck declined to comment on Vick's debts to the borough, stating only that "public records speak for themselves."
The borough filed a civil claim against Vick on Oct. 8, 2019, in the York County Court of Common Pleas in an effort to recoup $6,527 in unpaid sewer and refuse fees from January 2012 to October 2019.
Vick collects a monthly stipend of $208 from the borough for his service as mayor.
An online phone number listed as belonging to Vick was disconnected, and the mayor did not immediately respond Friday to an emailed request for comment.
The borough council shot down the idea of cutting the borough's trash pickup services.
Tax delays: Trash bills aren't the only lagging revenue stream at the borough.
Some property owners haven't paid their real estate taxes yet, and the borough is about $275,000 behind its projected tax revenue for 2020, Mauck said.
The borough is considering all options in an effort to balance the budget in 2021, Mauck said, including furloughs, layoffs and a hiring freeze.
A tax increase is also possible, he said, but so far no one on the borough council has proposed a hike.
"The majority of the elected board’s goal is to try to put a 2021 budget together without a tax increase, because we know families are hurting," Mauck said.
West York's overall millage rate is currently 11 mills, meaning a homeowner with a property assessed at $100,000 has an annual borough tax bill of $1,100.
The borough imposed a 1.5-mill tax hike in the 2020 budget, up from 9.5 mills in 2019.
Mauck said he'll look at every available revenue stream for the borough, from grants to federal COVID-19 relief funds, and he's hopeful the rest of the real estate taxes will be paid by Dec. 31.