What is Fiscal Freedom and Responsibility?
As promised in our 2012 State of the City Address, this is an initiative started by the Bracey Administration to stabilize property taxes by making adjustments in all city departments that will create savings to reduce the burden on tax paying citizens. We are also urging our county delegation and General Assembly to advance and approve recommendations focusing on reform of outdated binding arbitration and pension laws that exacerbate fiscal distress in Pennsylvania’s cities. These uncontrolled costs lead to layoffs, service cuts and tax increases…and they harm the very works, residents and businesses that are needed to sustain and grow a community. Our state legislators must step forward and support legislation to correct inequities so the municipalities have the freedom to create more tax fairness and stabilize the future of our municipalities and cities, especially our county seat – the City of York.
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 the responsible thing to do and I take this challenge very seriously. Please familiarize yourself with the background information provided and take action today.
A Call to Action
As a concerned citizen, you have the ability to share your concerns with our delegation of state elected representatives and senators. Use your voice and your vote to tell them they need to hear our cries for help. We are depending on our local legislators to understand the challenges of those who live in and pay taxes to the City. They need to hear from you and your neighbors about the seriousness of this dilemma. Our tax structure needs reform before more drastic measures fall upon the place we call “home.” The state government has the ability to enact such reform.
Please Take Action
Please take action by using this simple form to communicate with the elected officials. Tell your friends and others who live and work here to do the same. It will take a few minutes, but if you take action, you’ve helped yourself and others.
Thank you once again for your comments, concerns and action. If my team or I can be of further assistance, please let us know, and please keep in touch.Additional Measures for Residents
Actions York Is Taking
Measures We Have Undertaken
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 implemented 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 officials – to encourage and request municipal reform.
Additional Information & Resources
- PA DCED Early Intervention Program I – 2006, five year financial strategic plan
- PA DCED Early Intervention Program II – 2011, five year financial strategic plan
- PA DCED Early Intervention Program III – 2015, five year financial strategic plan
- What Causes Financial Strain in York City: Financial Stress In Government
- Property Tax Reduction – Homestead/Farmstead Tax Reduction
- Mayor Bracey’s Act 47 Testimony
- Mayor C. Kim Bracey’s 2012 State of the City Address
- Learn about Pennsylvania’s Core Communities in Crisis – A Pennsylvania Municipal League of Cities’ Report
- PML Regional White Paper