York City Council schedules final vote on $108M budget

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch

The York City Council introduced the $108 million 2019 draft city budget at a regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 4, and plans to vote on a final budget Dec. 18. 

Following the regular meeting, council members continued a budget hearing that began on Wednesday, Nov. 28. 

During the budget hearing, the council questioned department heads on the proposed budget — similar to budget hearings previously held by the mayor. 

The largest budget driver is insurance — mainly health care — costs, according to Mayor Michael Helfrich. 

More:York's 2019 budget plan: Fewer cops, more firefighters, higher health care costs

More:York City draft 2019 budget $4 million higher than 2018

Other significant changes to the budget include budgeting for seven new firefighters in 2019. The change will ultimately save the city money by cutting overtime costs, according to York City Fire Chief David Michaels. 

The draft budget also includes $47,000 for fuel, whereas the fire department previously used the city highway garage fuel and didn't have funds allocated. 

By outsourcing fuel, the department will save on maintenance costs, according to Michaels.

The city fuel had issues with an algae bloom growing in the diesel because of condensation; the tanks have since been cleaned and are tested monthly, said building maintenance supervisor David Rudolph. 

While the city might not want a dump truck out of commission, it certainly doesn't want to risk a firetruck not running when needed, Rudolph added.

Another change in the 2019 draft budget is allocating for fewer police officers.

Although the budget allocates for 100 officers, down from 105 budgeted in 2018, York City Police Chief Troy Bankert said the city will see more boots on the ground in 2019. 

In 2018 there were only about 85 operational officers because of officers on salary while in training, Bankert said.