York County eyes ending per capita tax payments

Greg Gross

York County commissioners are expected to end payments to local tax collectors who collect local per capita taxes.

The county doesn't see any of the tax revenue but has been paying tax collectors who serve as enumerators since 1994, Glenn Smith, the county solicitor, told commissioners during their weekly meeting on Wednesday.

Rather, the tax revenue goes to municipalities or school districts that levy the tax, commonly called a head tax since it's charged to anyone over the age of 17.

About 30 or so tax collectors in the county serve as enumerators, who are tasked with keeping track on the number of people who are charged the tax.

Savings: Enumerators paid between $200 to $500 a year, Mark Derr, the county administrator, said after the meeting.

"It'll be a savings of about $8,500 a year" for the county, he said.

At one point, the county had its own per capita tax, but it was discontinued years ago.

For an unknown reason, the county started paying local tax collectors to serve as enumerators more than 20 years ago, costing it between $8,500 and $10,000 yearly. At that rate, the initiative cost the county $192,500 to $220,000 over the 22-year period.

Though the yearly savings don't amount to much in the county's $532.5 million budget, Susan Byrnes, the president commissioner, said after the meeting that every saving, no matter how small, helps in the long run.

Commissioners are expected to vote on the ordinance at their next meeting on Wednesday, March 23. Meetings are held at 10 a.m. every Wednesday at the county administration building, 28 E. Market St. in York City.

Bridge naming: Also during the meeting, commissioners approved naming the South Penn Street bridge over the Codorus Creek in York City the "Black Veterans' Bridge."

The naming will serve as a way to honor black military veterans from the county.

"We figure this is something that hasn't been done in the York area and it should be done," said Leroy Atwater Sr., of the fraternal organization The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge No. 42. "We very seldom see our black veterans recognized."

The lodge worked with county officials, particularly Commissioner Chris Reilly, to bring the bridge naming to fruition.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.