York City budget proposal calls for hiring six new police officers

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

The absence of COVID aid — as well as any property tax increase — appears to have streamlined York City's budget process this year, which began with hearings Monday night with police and several other departments.

For city officials, the $235.3 million sale of the city's wastewater treatment system to Pennsylvania American Water opened up some budgetary breathing room. Mayor Michael Helfrich noted that it cleared all of the city's debt balances and left the city in a better financial position.

Budget hearings were split into two days this year, with six departments reporting information at Monday's hearing and another two on Tuesday night.

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The current $104 million city budget proposal calls for adding six new police officers to its force in 2023, according to Kim Robertson, the city's acting business administrator. Capt. Daniel Aikey added that the budget request also calls for $93,000 for patrol car computers and upgrades to the department's report management system.

It wasn't clear Monday whether the six officers would be incumbent upon City Council changing the code to allow the department to expand staffing beyond its current level of 101. Last month, officials tabled discussion on the plan. Police union officials did not oppose lifting the cap on staffing but did raise concern about other provisions in that proposed ordinance involving the appointment of a detective commander.

The public works department announced several new projects costing roughly $300,000, the largest of which is a bridge replacement and repair work along North George Street, according to Chaz Green, the department director The North George Street extension project is largely funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Green said, leaving the city to pay only engineering costs.

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Another big project is the removal of the Bascule Gate Dam on Codorus Creek north of Philadelphia Street. Green said the city allocated $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project.

The proposed 2023 budget can be viewed at the city website. The first draft presented at the council meeting can be found at: https://www.yorkcity.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Bill61-2023-City-Budget-Ordinance-1.pdf. The second draft, which was presented at the first budget hearing meeting is available to view here: https://www.yorkcity.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/2023_Proposed_Budget_2nd_Draft_11-21-22.pdf.

Tuesday's hearings will be live streamed on Facebook and YouTube at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

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