YORK COUNTY

York County ready to approve budget, but won't discuss prison contractor this week

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

The last meeting of the York County Board of Commissioners in 2022 will have major implications for 2023 — but one critical motion will not be on the agenda.

The commissioners will vote on the 2023 budget, which the board must pass by the end of the year. Wednesday's meeting is the last scheduled before 2023.

A motion not on the agenda: One that would create an agreement between the county and prison contractor Corrections Special Applications Unit to "resolve" any outstanding contractual obligations between the parties.

Commissioner Doug Hoke confirmed the budget will be on the agenda but said the motion on C-SAU would not.

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"Still some outstanding questions," Hoke said of the C-SAU motion. He did not say what those outstanding questions were.

York County contracted with C-SAU in 2021 to provide "confidential training" with 18 officers of the York County Prison. That training included eight weeks of operations and narcotics training.

York County approved a two-year, $252,770 contract with C-SAU in November 2021, the second such contract with the controversial contractor. Since then, the county, C-SAU and York County Prison have been sued by inmates at the prison; that lawsuit is ongoing.

There was some initial confusion about if the motion to "resolve" the contract would be on the agenda. Chief Clerk Greg Monskie at first said the motion on C-SAU would be on the agenda; after being asked about Hoke's assertion, Monskie later said that the motion would be on a forthcoming agenda, not Wednesday's.

President Commissioner Julie Wheeler and Commissioner Ron Smith did not respond to a request for comment.

The York County Prison Board of Inspectors unanimously recommended the motion at its meeting Wednesday following an hourlong executive session. All three members of the York County Board of Commissioners are voting members of that body.

C-SAU and its leader Joseph Garcia were ruled in default for not showing up to those proceedings.

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Wednesday's meeting marks 21 days since the 2023 budget was introduced via public meeting; by law, it must sit 20 days before approval. The $693 million budget does not call for a tax increase, unlike last year.

The approximately $25 million increase includes $17 million into the general fund, of which $15 million is an increase to wages and benefits, and $2.5 million is increased subsidies to Human Services funds and the 911 fund, according to Chief Financial Officer Tyler Chronister. Chronister said the county was able to avoid a tax increase through the use of remaining American Rescue Plan Act revenue replacement funds as well as the increased property tax base from last year's increase.

The Board of Commissioners legislative agenda is generally released on Tuesdays and is viewable on the county's website.

The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Commissioners meeting room at the York County Administrative Center, 28 E. Market St.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.