York proposes property tax decrease in 2016

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Here’s something you don’t hear very often: York’s budget proposal includes a tax decrease.

The city has the highest property taxes in the county. Mayor Kim Bracey (D) wants that to change with a 1 percent property tax decrease next year.

“It’s small in dollar amount in percentage terms, but it is enormously symbolic and psychological,” Bracey said. “It is time to move forward, toward letting the City of York compete in a fair fight for investment, jobs and other homeowners.”

We asked residents what they think.

“Of course, it’s always great news because it directly impacts my bottom line,” said Jessica Fieldhouse, a York resident. “But then, as someone who lives in the city and as someone who has been involved in city government, I know that’s how we make money, so there’s got to be an appropriate give and take.”

City officials said there is.

“The infrastructure changes adopted in 2014 throughout the 2015 budget process created a three-year window for the city to meet the short term goal of producing a balanced budget without enduring additional cuts,” business administrator Michael Doweary said.

Bracey wants to keep the trend going by lowering property taxes over the next few years, by a total of 15 percent.

“This is ambitious,” Bracey said. “Some may even say it’s crazy, but I believe it’s necessary.”

“Long-term, we’re going to need a bigger fix from the state in order to help third class cities like York make it work,” Fieldhouse said.

It’s not all good news. Sewer rates will go up 6 percent.

“As the Chesapeake Bay Water Shed Initiative continues and the need for continued maintenance on the infrastructure of our sewer system, sewer rates must rise to meet the ever increasing demands,” Doweary said.

You can view the budget proposal at http://yorkcity.org/user-files/file/FinalBudgetBookDetail%20For%20Website.pdf.

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