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City Council Meeting Minutes

November 22, 2011


CALL TO ORDER:  City Council convened in a Special Session on November 22, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, to receive a presentation from the Administration on the proposed 2012 York City Budget with the following Council members present: Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Genevieve H. Ray, President, with President Ray presiding. 
Members of the Administration in attendance included: Mayor C. Kim Bracey, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator.
Members of York City Council staff in attendance included:  Dianna L. Thompson, City Clerk.
Mayor Bracey opened the meeting by thanking directors, staff, the public, Council and her budget team for their valuable roles in this very difficult budget process. She said public hearings were held with each department presenting their budget to her and her budget team. Mayor Bracey said each department was asked to reduce spending to bring line items down to year 2010 levels. She outlined various line item reductions, budget cuts, proposed projects, and budget highlights. She stated that the budget presented to Council represents a balanced budget. In the end, we are looking at a $96 million overall budget with the General Fund being about $42 million. After cuts and reductions, she said we are faced with a 1.8 mil tax increase, which averages out to $92.50 per year, $7.71 per month, or 21 cents per day increase for an average home valued at $50,000.00. Unfortunately, Mayor Bracey reported that there are many cities looking at Act 47 status. She said we are living in tough times and budgets across the Commonwealth are a direct reflection of the tough financial straits our economy is in. Mayor Bracey then spoke at length about Act 47 and recommendations made by Public Financial Management through the Early Intervention Multi-Year plan to help reduce the city's deficit.
Council, Mayor Bracey, and Business Administrator O'Rourke then discussed various line items, programs, employee positions, projects (including the new City Hall and Police Station renovation projects), revenue streams and various other line items including bond issues, and the new streetlight and inflow and infiltration fees. Administrator O'Rourke said the solicitor's office is looking into how to distribute these new fees. Council and the Administration explored and discussed options to help reduce the budget and generate revenue.
Michael Helfrich, resident, supported continued funding of White Rose Community Television and discussed how college interns could provide a valuable, free service to the city, while at the same time earning the student field experience. He also encouraged residents to properly recycle because this helps bring down refuse fees. Lastly, Mr. Helfrich alerted residents that the new streetlight and inflow & infiltration fees will be an additional cost to the tax increase.
Cindy Martin, resident, questioned the necessity of the 11% tax increase. President Ray stated that those topics will be covered in the Council Budget Hearings, which Council will establish this evening. President Ray invited Ms. Martin to attend the hearings and participate in discussion.
President Ray then proposed various dates for Council to hold its budget hearings. After discussion, a motion was made by Ray, seconded by Nelson, to establish the following budget hearing dates to begin each evening at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA:
Monday, November 28, 2011
*York City Human Relations Commission
Police Department - All Divisions and Bureaus
Fire Department - All Divisions and Bureaus
Public Comment
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Public Works - All Divisions and Bureaus
Economic & Community Development - All Divisions and Bureaus
Public Comment
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Solicitor's Office, Elected & Appointed Officials
York City Human Relations Commission
Business Administration - All Divisions and Bureaus
Public Comment
*(Note: The Human Relations Commission was later moved to November 28, 2011.)
The motion to adopt said scheduled passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
Next, President Ray introduced and read the following Resolution:
Resolution No. 146, Session 2011, A Resolution establishing that consideration of adoption of the 2012 York City Budget, 2012 tax rate, and related documents shall be on December 20, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA. On motion of Ray, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 146 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the November 22, 2011 Special Session of Council adjourned at 6:55 p.m.