Intro paragraph encouraging letter to be sent. The letter that will be sent is shown below.
Dear York County Legislative Delegation:
I have a vested interest in seeing our City of York survive and thrive.
Not unlike any other city in the Commonwealth, our City is currently in financial distress. Left with no real options, our local government is almost solely dependent upon property tax. In our City, real estate taxes continue to rise, property values have fallen, 38% of the City's real estate base is presently tax-exempt, and basic services are routinely threatened or cut. It seems clear that after years of struggling, York has run out of options. Most recently, the City had to increase property taxes still, after eliminating several police and firefighter positions. Concurrent to that increase, the School District of the City of York - - the largest portion of a property tax bill - - struggles with the same fiscal deficiencies based upon an antiquated system of local government.
I believe that the City of York, our County Seat, is worth saving, and that it has the potential to be a truly great asset for York County and the entire region. Our City must be saved and improved, not ignored and allowed to further deteriorate.
I am requesting that the York County delegation do the following:
Develop a menu of local revenue options. Our local governments cannot continue to provide services based upon an antiquated revenue generation system that is almost entirely dependent upon property tax, specifically in a land-locked geographic area that has the highest concentration of blight, poverty and tax-exempt real estate.
Endorse the efforts of the Coalition for Sustainable Communities. Please work with these government officials and representatives of Chambers of Commerce from across the Commonwealth who have banned together to encourage reform on behalf of municipal government and our core, centralized urban cities and boroughs across Pennsylvania. Specifically, an initiative of the Coalition is to reform Act 111. This will provide for a more sensible and open collective bargaining process that gives consideration to a municipality's ability to afford arbitration-awarded benefits.
Also the Coalition for Sustainable Communities is advocating for meaningful pension reform. Pennsylvania has over 3,200 pension plans, many are grossly underfunded. This is a problem that is not limited to cities, but extends to most municipalities in the Commonwealth. Your assistance is greatly needed for this initiative.
We see a huge opportunity for York County, and for the Commonwealth, by having our legislative delegation reform the present system of local government and to address these critical issues.
Can someone from your office please provide me information on how the Pennsylvania General Assembly is advancing these initiatives?