York City Council plans budget hearing as shutdown looms

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

One day before its deadline, York City Council will meet to discuss overriding Mayor Michael Helfrich's veto of the 2022 budget.

It's been another contentious budget process as the mayor and council disagreed over how to spend nearly $6.4 million in federal funding via the American Rescue Plan Act. If the council doesn't pass a budget, the city once again risks a government shutdown that would cease all but emergency operations.

The most recent version of the $95.6 million city budget did not include any tax increase.

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Thursday's budget meeting is set for 10 a.m. at the York City Hall at 101 South George St. in York. As City Hall is on a work-from-home model due to rising COVID-19 rates, the meeting can only be attended through Zoom. To view from a computer, follow this link and type in the passcode 54321. To call into the meeting, dial 1-312-626-6799. The webinar ID is 914 6284 6649 and the passcode is 54321.

READ MORE: Mayor Helfrich vetoes York City budget amid dispute with City Council

Helfrich exercised his veto option on Tuesday, necessitating the special meeting.

"I cannot sign onto this budget," Helfrich told The York Dispatch on Tuesday. "I'm well aware that with four votes they can override my veto, and fair enough, then. This isn't my budget and I sure as heck am not putting my name on this abomination of a budget."

It's the second year in a row the budget will be potentially passed on Dec. 30. Council member Edquina Washington had protested the 2021 budget over concerns about the forthcoming wastewater sale to Pennsylvania American Water Co. 

If a budget is not approved before Dec. 31, the government would shut down. City Hall would close completely and employees would not be paid, but emergency personnel like police officers and firefighters would remain active.

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

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