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City Council appoints new member

Jason Addy
York Dispatch
  • Judy Ritter-Dickson was unanimously chosen to fill the vacant fifth seat on the York City Council.

The York City Council selected Judy Ritter-Dickson to fill the vacancy left by former Council President Carol Hill-Evans.

Ritter-Dickson was unanimously chosen Monday night by the four-person council and will serve for just over a year, until Jan. 1, 2018. The seat had been vacant for two weeks, since Hill-Evans’ election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Ritter-Dickson, who chairs the York County Advisory Council and serves on the city's Human Relations Commission, said she had already formed a campaign committee to run in next year's council elections, but she will now be running as an incumbent.

The city's newest council member said she hopes to continue improving the relationship between the city and the York City School District to get youth more involved in city government while finding ways for "mom and pop" stores to open and grow in the right areas.

Judy Ritter-Dickson, left, is congratulated by Juanita Kirkland, of York City, after a unanimous vote by York City Council members to be sworn in as the newest council member during a special meeting held to publicly interview the candidates at City Hall on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Four other candidates also were publicly interviewed in York City Hall on Monday: Wolfgang Candy president and CEO Ben McGlaughlin; Lincoln Charter School community outreach director Anne Clark; York County Food Bank interim executive director Amy Chamberlin; and former Washington, D.C., police officer and current USDA inspector Roderick Artis.

The council also selected Councilman Henry Nixon to serve as vice president.

Budget: Ritter-Dickson took the oath of office and claimed her seat on the council Monday night to begin working through the city’s 2017 budget.

York City Mayor Kim Bracey’s proposed budget includes a 2 percent drop in property taxes along with a 10 percent increase in sewer fees and a 3.9 percent increase in refuse fees. The property tax cut keeps the city’s administration on track to lower property taxes 15 percent by 2019, Bracey has said.

In her budget message, Bracey wrote that the city must work against serious financial limitations and restrictions, with revenues not keeping pace with growing health care and pension obligations.

As a third-class city, York struggles to pay for the necessary public services “with revenue from an antiquated and inadequate revenue-generating system,” Bracey said, calling for help from York’s representatives in state government.

York City Council candidates, from left, Roderick Artis, Ben McGlaughlin, Judy Ritter-Dickson, Anne Clark and Amy Chamberlin answer questions during a special council meeting held to publicly interview candidates for the open seat at City Hall on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“As your mayor, I am prepared to demand that these issues be addressed and that we not continue to sit idle while our commonwealth’s core communities continue to struggle to conduct the business of government,” Bracey wrote. “As a result, I will ask again of our York County delegation of Pennsylvania elected officials, both representatives and senators, to convene and discuss solutions for the fundamental flaws in our commonwealth structure of third-class city government.”

The York City Council and mayor must finalize the 2017 budget by the end of December.