EDITORIAL: Tough times, tough measures

York Dispatch

York City has had to make some tough decisions lately.

More than a dozen city employees, including four firefighters, lost their jobs at the beginning of this year to help balance the budget.

The city is looking at everything, from cellphone contracts up, to try to save money, according to Mayor Kim Bracey.

And that meant reconsidering the $54,000 contract given to the nonprofit Historic York for the past four decades to provide consulting advice on the city's historic architecture.

York City asked for bids on the contract, and Historic York sent one in for $10,000 less than its usual fee.

But it wasn't enough.

The lowest bid was $38,430 from the Maryland firm of Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, which on its website says it provides a range of architectural and engineering services for infrastructure projects around the country, and which has an office in York County.

With a savings of almost $30,000 over five years, JMT won the contract and York City severed its connection with Historic York.

It may seem harsh to end a 40-year-old relationship with a nonprofit organization that was formed for the purpose of helping the city protect its architectural history over less than $6,000 a year.

But this is a government that proposed cutting its police force nearly in half last fall. It is also making do with fewer lawn mowers this summer and has decided it's too costly to enforce its new law that was supposed to curb problems like leaving trash out and not shoveling sidewalks.

Penny pinching is the order of the day for York City, and that means every single penny is getting pinched.

We hope JMT protects the unique architecture of York City as well as Historic York did.