West York borough: 'Save a firefighter' with holiday donation to fire dept.

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

This Christmas, West York is appealing to its citizens and neighbors for donations to support the fire department, which the borough nearly axed last month due to budget woes.

In a Facebook post Friday, the borough said COVID-19 has wreaked havoc not only on families, small businesses and nonprofit organizations, but also municipal governments.

"This is why I am writing you; we need your help and support," the post stated. "We need contributions to offset the cost of our paid fire department for the first time in a generation."

West York Borough Manager Shawn Mauck, left, talks with West York Volunteer Fire Chief John Love at the department Wednesday Dec. 23, 2020. Mauck is appealing to residents to support the borough's fire department. Bill Kalina photo

In November, the borough council voted not to renew its contract with the West York Fire Department after it expires Aug. 31 and to move to an all volunteer fire service.

The cuts were meant to be in lieu of a tax increase and would have affected two full-time and four part-time drivers with the fire department.

But after hearing from residents who were unhappy with the plan, Borough Manager Shawn Mauck came up with an alternative solution.

Instead of cutting the entire department, the borough council voted Dec. 14 to lay off one firefighter, furlough one police officer and look for savings in other areas.

Mauck said it was like a "Christmas miracle" that the borough saved most of the fire department and likened the situation to the Frank Capra movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," when the townspeople came together to help George Bailey.

"Now the next part is to be able to get that big basket out there like at the end of the movie, where people put their money in to help support the effort," Mauck said.

West York Borough Manager Shawn Mauck visits the borough's fire department Wednesday Dec. 23, 2020. Mauck is appealing to residents to support the fire department. Bill Kalina photo

Mauck is asking borough residents and supporters from neighboring municipalities to get a simple Christmas card and drop a few dollars inside for the fire department, whether it's $20, $5 or even one dollar.

Mailed donations should be addressed to "West York Borough C/O Fire Department" at 1381 W. Poplar St. York, Pennsylvania 17404.

The public can also make contributions online through the borough's online payment portal by selecting "Donations" in the drop-down menu and listing "fire department" for the donation's use.

The borough's Facebook post also asked those unable to donate money to share the letter with others and spread the message.

"Act now and save a firefighter this year for the holidays," the post stated.

More:West York borough to keep paid fire service, lay off one firefighter

More:West York borough holds line on taxes, cuts paid firefighters