Michael Ray Helfrich, a Democrat, was first elected to York City Council in November 2011 and was sworn into office on January 3, 2012. After a successful campaign Michael was re-elected to City Council in November 2015 and was again sworn into office on January 4, 2016. He served as Vice President of Council from January 4, 2016 to November 8, 2016 until he obtained the Presidency on November 9, 2016 following resignation of the seated Council President. Michael also serves as Chair of the Business Administration Committee of Council, and is a member of the Public Works, Rules & Administrative Code, and Vacant Property Review Committees.
Born the son of Kenneth R. Helfrich from Girard Avenue in the City of York and Christine Hartmann from Frankfurt, Germany, Michael grew up in West York but spent a lot of his time in the City of York in his youth. Michael graduated in the top five of his class in 1988 from West York High School. After graduation, Michael attended York College for a period of time but spent most of his “twenties” traveling the country. He had the opportunity to visit places such as Boulder, Colorado, New Orleans, Louisana, and the Florida Keys.
In 2001, Michael returned to York City and started the non-profit Codorus Creek Improvement Partnership, leading York’s volunteers in an effort that has since made great progress in restoring York’s main natural resource. Since 2005, Michael has served as the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, a legal and political advocate to improve waterways and communities around central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.
Michael served as Judge of Elections from 2003 to 2005 and as an elections inspector and clerk from 2008 to 2010. He was honored with the York City Leader of the Year Award in 2004, and the York County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award in 2005. Michael also sits on the York County Community Foundation Codorus Watershed Endowment Advsiory Board and is Director on the Board of Keep York Beautiful and the Watershed Alliance of York, and is Vice-Chair of the York NAACP Labor and Industry Committee.
A local historian, Michael is living in the oldest owner-occupied home in the City of York, the Cookes House, also known as the Tom Paine House, which was built in 1761. The research he completed on his house, and Thomas Paine’s time in York in 1778, developed into a published work of art titled “The Question of Thomas Paine at York Town,” and was published in the Journal of York County Heritage, vol. 2, 2011.
In his spare time, when not involved in his passion of researching York’s rich history, Michael enjoys fishing in the Codorus Creek, eating at Central Market, and listening to and playing music around the York community.