Beyond the tax rate, questions remain for York’s budget season

York City Council is set to meet tonight for the first of several hearings in advance of any approval of the 2013 budget.

And while Mayor Kim Bracey’s budget proposes no tax increase for city residents, still, plenty of questions remain for the Tuesday night meeting and beyond.

The council will meet — much as city staff did earlier this fall — to consider city departmental budgets. In October, it was a week full of hearings where officials spoke of trying to hold the line and keep down costs, something they say they’ve done.

Now, it’s the council’s turn to talk with city officials about what they’re spending, and why it’s being spent.

This file photo by Kate Penn shows York City Council members Henry Nixon and Carol Hill-Evans as they look over a document before voting on the 2012 budget, on Saturday, December 31, 2011. Officials are again considering a budget as 2012 comes to a close.

The council will consider the following budgets at 6 p.m. tonight: elected officials, Human Relations Commission, public works, and economic and community development.

The next meeting, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, will include: solicitor’s office, business administration, and fire and police.

Consideration for final adoption of the proposed 2013 budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18  in City Council Chambers, according to a city release.

That approval date would put officials ahead of last year’s process, when a contentious budget season that eventually resulted in a 17 percent tax hike came down to a vote during a special Saturday session, on the last day of the year.

Early indications are that there won’t be that kind of wait for next year’s budget. The words “no tax increase” always seem to make people fell better.

Still, plenty of questions have come up this time around.

During those fall budget sessions, members of the council questioned the requested staffing levels for fire and police, and certainly the inner workings of the Human Relations Commission have been on display this fall, along with the group’s funding.

In addition, there’s been confusion over the source of funding for annual holiday events in York. And there’s the looming potential for “financial havoc” in two years, just in advance of the mayor’s run for re-election.

The budget hearings are open to the public — and the city council has the power to change line items through a vote — so you might want to stay tuned, right up until the final approval.

What’s the one thing you would add/subtract/change in the city budget?

About Tim Stonesifer

Tim Stonesifer is the York city reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Email him at tstonesifer@ydr.com, call 771-2032 or follow him on Twitter @timstonesifer.
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2 Responses to Beyond the tax rate, questions remain for York’s budget season

  1. Peg says:

    It is time to take a cold, hard look at the tv channels that taxpayers are funding. Clearly, there need to be cuts there.

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