Questions of the Week — Readers ask about building a jail, courthouse protester, cleaning up a property

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The following questions were recently submitted by inquiring readers:


Q: I have been reading about the issues of too many inmates in custody in York County to be held at the local jail at the same time. My question is if a new jail was constructed, how much would it cost?

A: During a recent conversation between the head of corrections, Nic Marsden, and the York County Commissioners, it was said that an estimated cost of building a new correctional facility is approximately $100,000 per inmate it could house.

Of course, there would be other costs like land acquisition, engineering, design, etc.

But the $100,000 per inmate is the base cost at this point in time, according to standards.


Q: When was the York County Jail built?

A: It was built when the current York County Courthouse was built, back in the 1980s.


Q: Who is in charge of cleaning up the old Burger King location at the York interchange? It is becoming an eyesore.

A: The property owners are responsible for cleaning that area up and maintaining it. It is not the responsibility of the city, at this point.


Q: How many dogs is one household allowed to have, in York? There is a house in my neighborhood where it appears they have five and I didn’t think that was allowed.

A: The municipal code in York allows for there to be two dogs per household.

Exceptions are for those who have licenses to operate kennels or shelters (such as Adopt A Pet).

Dogs must be registered with the police department.


Q: My flowers turned out so well this year with tons of blooms. Is it possible to save the old, dead blooms and use them as seed for next year as I’d love to plant the same hearty variety and type I have this summer.

A: Absolutely! It works really well and personal experience has shown the next year, and the next, as you plant generational flowers in this way, the flowers seem to get better and better.

De-head your flower plants – take off the dead blooms – and let them completely dry out in your house. They have to be completely dry, or they will mold.

Once they are completely dry, put them in brown paper bags (make sure to label them so next year you know what you are planting for sure), close them well, put in a dry, dark place until next spring.

When it’s time to plant next spring, just pull the dried blooms out. The seeds will be visible in the center of the old flowers. Crush them up and plant them.

Some varieties, such as marigolds, yield many, many seeds and are easy to separate by just crushing them in your hand. Remember to space them how you want them to grow – obviously, the more seeds the more plants. And marigolds respond very well to just planting directly in the dirt where they will grow all summer – no need to raise small plants and replant later.


Q: Who is the person who stands outside the York County Courthouse and yells through a megaphone? He goes out there every once in a while and screams at passing cars about something I can never quite hear or understand. The sign he holds up is written really strange so I can’t really read it or understand it either.

A: We aren’t sure. Sometimes people have stood in the courthouse lawn to hold demonstrations about causes they believe in. We aren’t sure who this particular person may have been.


Q: When should an American flag be retired and properly disposed of? And if you have one that needs to be retired, who does a person call?

A: The protocol calls for an American flag to be retired and properly disposed of when it reaches the point it is tattered and torn.

To properly dispose of an American flag, call your local Boy Scout troop as they provide flag disposal services on a regular basis and will take care of it for individuals, businesses, organizations, etc.


Q: The county commissioners have been talking about how the county’s comprehensive plan needs to be updated in the next few years, as it is done every 10 years and the time is nearly here. Is there a cost associated with doing that?

A: Yes, there is a cost associated with updating the comprehensive plan as a certified planning firm is typically hired as a consultant to help work through the process. The cost remains to be seen at this point, as that will be revealed through the bidding process when the time comes.


Q: How long has Sheriff Vrbka been the sheriff?

A: Paul Vrbka is in his second term as sheriff, having been re-elected in 2022.


Q: I have made a point to walk more this summer and I have noticed a lot of sidewalks that really need to be repaired in York and some properties don’t have sidewalks at all. Whose responsibility is it to do that work, pay for it, make sure the repairs are done?

A: The sidewalk running along private property is the responsibility of the owner of that property.

If the sidewalk is on city-owned property, it is the responsibility of the city.

Years ago, there was a controversial conversation in the city about creating sidewalk mandates which would have required repairs and installations where needed. But because there was so much push-back from citizens and property owners, the matter was dropped.


Q: Can you freeze potatoes? I grew potatoes in my garden this year and they yielded a lot, but I don’t have a lot of space where to store them properly. So I wondered, can you freeze them?

A: Numerous online sources say yes, you can. They say you must blanche the potatoes for 10 minutes, cool them down and then freeze them in a single layer in a plastic bag.


Q: If I have a tree that needs to be cut down, in my yard, do I call the city? Does the city provide that service?

A: If the tree is on your property, you will need to have the tree removed yourself (pay the costs of that work). There are a number of local companies that do tree trimming and removal. You would have to contact one of them to inquire about the work and the costs.



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