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EDITORIAL: Here we are again, West York
West York Council, it's taking a lot of effort not to say, "We told you so."
But what's the point of bringing up the not-so-distant past — the requests for police service costs from five neighboring departments, then the public shredding of the unopened proposals, and the sudden signing (against the advice of your solicitor) of a three-year police contract?
It's water under the bridge. Time to move forward.
And the way Council President Garrett Wampler sees it, there are only three paths: raise property taxes by 4 or 5 mills in a tiny borough that already has the third-highest tax rate in York County; figure out some way to save half a million dollars through cuts to police and fire; or merge West York with one of the surrounding municipalities.
He warned fellow council members residents can't take another tax increase. Heck, Wampler said, if they hike it again, he's selling his own house.
Last year, the council raised taxes by 1 mill for 2015, bumping the local property tax rate to 7.5 mills, which is lower than only York City and North York.
According to Wampler, West York had been balancing its budget with returns on investments, but those investments aren't returning much these days. They have largely run dry.
The reason some council members suggested exploring its options is because the half-square-mile borough's 11-person police department represents half of all its expenses.
In this case regionalization — sharing the costs of services — is a reasonable option to explore, and it's no surprise its back on the council's table. Let's hope the members give it serious look this time around.
That's assuming they can find any takers.
Some of West York's neighbors who took the time to make regionalization proposals last time probably didn't take kindly to seeing their hard work shredded sight unseen.