York city councilman announces re-election bid

York city Councilman Henry Nixon announced on Friday that he will seek re-election to the five-member council this fall.

In an emailed statement, Nixon, a Democrat, spoke at length about his experience, and what he’d still like to accomplish in the city.

The full text of his announcement is as follows:

NIXON

Henry Nixon, a Democrat, will run for York City Council in 2013. He and his wife have lived in the city for 42 years. “I love this city, and I believe we can do so much more.” Mr. Nixon’s decision to run is based in his desire to forge new alliances within our larger York community, promote economic development and jobs throughout the City, and reverse the deterioration of neighborhoods.

Mr. Nixon has had three primary objectives during the past three years.

• First, to ensure that we are actually planning for success, not just
managing decline. This led to the purchase of a new City Hall and
a newly renovated police headquarters, both of which I supported
and lobbied hard to escort into reality. Both of these major capital
improvements came with no increase in the tax burden of property
owners but, rather, will end years of paying rent with nothing to show for
it. Furthermore this move consolidates city business under one roof– in
the same building as the mayor’s watchful eyes – and provides for a state-
of-the-art, secure and safe police station for the 21st century.

At times, this view has led Nixon to some tough conclusions – such as his
preference for a tax increase over slashing the number of police officers
on our force several years ago. “In my view, notwithstanding the financial
challenges we face as a city, degrading the quality of life and critical
services such as fighting crime is not the solution.”

• Second, to reverse the steady decline of city neighborhoods. While this goal has been difficult, Nixon believes that his support of Mayor Bracey’s policy of zero tolerance for blight has impeded the precipitous decline of the past two decades. He worked hard to add personnel to check nuisance property violations. He helped to re-activate the “Citizen Inspector” program, which puts more eyes in our neighborhoods to ensure property maintenance.

• Third, to work closely with the mayor to help determine goals and to move our city forward in a productive and professional manner, building on the successes of the past. While his point of view did not always prevail, “I believe we have been successful in elevating the tone and productivity of the collective leadership of our city and I have played a significant role in that.”

In addition, with John Lloyd, Mayor Bracey and Kevin Schreiber, Nixon launched
the first serious campaign to raise PILOT money (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes)
from our tax-exempt properties, which raised $445,000. Indeed, he has done
much to help make York a better place.

Eric Menzer will serve as campaign chair, Jack Sommer as finance chair and
Carol Downs Brady as treasurer.

Mr. Nixon has 40 successful years of business experience and community
leadership. This experience qualifies him to be a good steward of his fellow
taxpayers’ money. His many years of community service taught him to work well
with others in seeking solutions to complex challenges. With contacts in every
field throughout York County, he can bring resources to bear on the difficult
challenges that face York.

Mr. Nixon is passionate about the City and its future. “I want City Council, the
people of York and the Mayor to be aligned: to have the same goals, to work
closely together achieving those goals and to move our City forward, building on
the successes of the past.”

After 25 years, he retired from the furniture and interior design business in
1995. He then joined the York Symphony in 1998, as their first Executive
Director. During his tenure with the Symphony he developed collaborations with
diverse organizations to further the mission and impact of the orchestra in the
community.

Nixon was a member of the steering committee for York City Dollars For
Scholars, and served on its first Board of Directors. He was appointed to the
York City Waste Water Treatment Authority Board to fill a vacated term and
Mayor John Brenner chose him to lead the transition team in 2001. He has
served on a variety of volunteer Boards over the years, holding leadership
positions on many. Currently he serves on the Board of Directors of Community
Progress Council. He has been active in the arts community, serving on the
steering committee that founded the Cultural Alliance of York County.

These skills have instilled in Nixon an ability to face challenges with tested
experience and the necessary tools to find solutions. “I am a proven leader
with passion and commitment to York. I promise to serve with tolerance and
consistency.”

Nixon is very sensitive to the daily struggle of too many city residents and
businesses with the tax burdens imposed by the ridiculous structure of
Pennsylvania local government and tax systems, and the staggering legacy
cost of pension and retiree health care obligations. He will continue to look for
creative and bold solutions to these deep structural problems.

The Nixons settled on North Newberry Street in 1977, where they reside today.
Their 3 children attended city schools and graduated from William Penn High
School. Their daughter and her 3 children also live in the city. Henry and his
wife belong to Christ Lutheran Church on South George Street.

“I would like nothing more than to serve on the city council that takes tough
votes to create financial sustainability for our city so that my grandchildren, who
live here, too, can take as much joy in this place as I do.”

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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