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York City mulls $104 million budget: How you can weigh in

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

York City officials are considering a $104 million budget for the coming year that won't require a tax increase despite an increase in spending.

“This is the first time in a long time the city can balance its budget with existing on-hand cash.” Mayor Michael Helfrich said.

Following the $235 million sale of the city’s wastewater treatment system in February, Helfrich said the city was able to pay off or escrow funds to close all outstanding debts.

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich discusses the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and how it will likely impact the community at York City Hall in York City, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

The York City administration introduced the proposed budget at the Nov. 15 city council meeting. Unlike previous years, there was no discussion following the introduction.

Formal discussions won't begin until the Dec. 6 council meeting, Council President Sandie Walker said. Department hearings for the proposed budget, meanwhile, are planned for Monday and Tuesday.

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Helfrich said the budget accounts for wage increases for city employees, which will vary across departments and labor unions. Thanks to the surplus, he said, this won't result in a property tax increase.

Based on current estimates, the owner of a $100,000 home could expect to pay $1,870 in property tax.

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The proposal also requests to appropriate more than $8 million in American Rescue Act Funds, which led to friction between the mayor and council last year. Some of that will be used to support the York City Police Department, including hiring additional officers, Helfrich said.

Department hearings typically are held before the budget is introduced to council, Helfrich said. However, with initiating a new budgeting system and staff working on critical audits, the budget was not complete in time to hold hearings before the introduction.

That means potential changes that emerge out of those hearings will have to be made as council amendments, he said. Typically the administration would make them in the document itself.

Department hearings will be live streamed on Facebook and YouTube at 6 p.m. Nov. 21 and 22. The public can read the budget in its entirety at https://www.yorkcity.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Bill61-2023-City-Budget-Ordinance-1.pdf.

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.