Why Fiscal Freedom and Stability Matters to Everyone
As your Mayor and a lifelong resident of the City of York, I share your deep concern about stabilizing property taxes and keeping city residents in their homes. Doing so is not just the right and responsible thing to do. It is the smart thing to do to encourage further investment, jobs, and growth in our county seat.
Here are some recent belt-tightening measures that we have undertaken to stop the immediate crisis:
We have reduced overtime costs in uniformed positions by more than $600,000 per year by scrutinizing all overtime and rescheduling shifts over the last two years.
We will pursue regionalizing services. We sensibly outsourced our Fire Department’s services to North York Borough and have also engaged in serious talks with York Area United Fire Rescue to form a first-ever Metro York fire service. This move would reduce overhead costs, while reducing neither coverage nor response times.
We are strengthening our Fair Share initiative, aimed at securing $750,000 of payments in lieu of taxes from tax exempt entities within this fiscal year. Thirty eight percent of our real estate base is owned by tax exempt entities; we are soliciting voluntary contributions from those entities.
We have aggressively stepped up efforts to recoup $13 million in unpaid sewer bills. We will charge interest to those who carry outstanding balances and cut off services to chronic scofflaws. Our citizens who pay their bills and are in good standing should not subsidize the irresponsibility of others.
We have begun a valuation process of many of the City’s assets which would include the sewer collection and parking systems. This valuation process will reveal the real value of these city-owned assets, and will help future, good faith negotiations for possible purchases or leases. These efforts are underway and have already netted thousands of dollars.
We will continue to evaluate a fairer earned income tax system that would be shared by commuters. This was a recommendation of our Financial Management Five Year Plan and we believe it has merit in alleviating some of the tax burden of city homeowners.
We continue our look into whether the state’s Act 47 distressed city status makes sense for our city, though history clearly has revealed that Act 47 is not a perfect solution.
We have begun this initiative to give our citizenry and constituents a direct line to our state government elected officals to encourage and request municipal reform. Act now and send your letter today.