Suspect arrested after allegedly burglarizing business, assaulting officer

York City mulls $103M budget: Here's how you can weigh in

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

The York City Council is set to discuss its proposed 2022 budget Tuesday night.

And just like last year, things could get complicated.

In the lead-up to the potential approval of the city's budget, Mayor Michael Helfrich and the York City Council have sparred over the use of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

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York's total allocation from the ARPA is $35.3 million. Funds must be obligated by December 2024 and expended by 2026.

The proposed $102.8 million budget does not call for a tax increase. Under the most recent figures, a property owner with a home value of $100,000 could expect to pay $1,878 in city taxes.

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During a "Monday Message" on Dec. 6, the mayor encouraged the public to call City Council members and urge them to approve funding in the budget toward curbing issues like violence and homelessness.

After expressing condolences to the family of Jaidan Altland, who died after a shooting on Dec. 4, Helfrich expressed concern that money his administration had budgeted toward addressing violence, homelessness and economic development would be stripped out through the budget process.

READ MORE: Mayor, council spar over how to use $35M in federal funds

"On Jan. 1, when the budget is passed, we need money right now to fight violence," Helfrich said. "We don't need any more young people dying while we're letting money sit in the bank that could be spent to help these young people and to help our community." 

The City Council later accused the mayor of using an opportunistic approach to push his agenda regarding the use of ARPA funding.

READ MORE: York City mulls new budget with significant federal relief funding

"The residents of the City of York deserve this process to be handled in a way that builds trust with them," a news release from the council members said. "As the legislative branch of city government, City Council will continue to do its due diligence in serving the best interests of its citizenry in creating a better community for our residents and visitors to live, work and play.”

Outgoing President Henry Nixon said in an interview he was alarmed that Helfrich associated the death of a young man and the council balking at the amount of ARPA funding that would be given to nonprofits.

"That's a very serious thing to say. He can say that he wants to prevent violence, gun violence especially, that's one thing," Nixon said. "But to associate council, council hasn't voted. Council hasn't spoken yet. That I think was very inappropriate." 

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Helfrich later fired back in an interview. 

"For four years, we've been scraping together money to address violence in the city of York," Helfrich said. "Now we have money, and I find it absurd that some council members are suggesting that they're not going to approve the money.

"I find it not only absurd, I find it offensive to the city of York that they're suggesting not approving the money. I know we all want to address the violence, and taking that money out of the budget is just not the way. I can't understand it." 

This year's budget includes an increase of $1.5 million toward public safety, including the hiring of ambassadors to go into the community and mental health responders to act as experts.

Tuesday's meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at York City Hall, 101 S. George St..

As in past years, the budget is available online at www.yorkcity.org as well as at City Hall.

Matt Enright can be reached via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.