City to approve budget for 2023-24 fiscal year, with a lower tax levy from last year

YORK – The City of York held its formal budget hearing last week, during a special meeting, where no public comment was made.

The council went over the final details of the budget, which has been worked on since last spring.

This week, they will be giving it final approval.

The highlights of this year’s budget are positive, including that the city’s property tax levy will be going down to 28 cents per $100 of valuation. As an example, if a residence has a value of $250,000, the taxes will be $712.50.

“We are proud of the work everyone did to keep it low and 7% in valuation growth is a good sign of growth in the city,” said York City Administrator Sue Crawford, during last week’s hearing. “This should put York’s city tax levy among one of the lowest among First Class cities in the state.”

The city’s valuation, as certified, went from $1,146,097,594 last year to $1,306,699,005 this year.

Other highlights of the budget are that the general fund and operating fund expenses will be going down 7%; the property tax rate is going down 8%; and the property taxes collected for city costs are going down 2%.

The three main capital expenditures that will be taking place in the future is the construction of a new fire station, bonding for turf installation at Levitt Stadium and the land purchase for a new industrial park.

Dr. Crawford said, while reviewing revenues, that property tax in the city makes up only 7%. Twenty-two percent is sales tax, which is important, she said.

When it comes to expenditures, 28% of it goes toward personnel costs.

The city has been using ARPA (federal COVID-relief funds) for replacing all the lead pipe in the municipal system – by the end of the year, there will be no lead pipes in the city, which Dr. Crawford said is “amazing, as many cities are struggling to get rid of these.”

In the sewer budget, about $1.5 million in revenue was built in upon the possibility of federal dollars to expand the facility. That does not impact the rates. A slight rate increase (2 ½%) is proposed, however, to keep up with operations.

A landfill rate change is proposed, which is the first in six years. This is to build revenues for cell closures and expansion phases.

She also noted these two funds are self-sustaining and are not subsidized by property tax revenues.

Dr. Crawford explained how the departments took on “value-based budgeting this year, focusing on increasing safety; fiscal responsibility; education/training/succession planning; attention to outreach; and increased retention.”

Regarding the budget and the process leading to it, Councilman Tony North said everyone “did a great job.”

“This is the best budget we’ve had yet,” added Councilman Matt Wagner.

Councilman Jerry Wilkinson also wanted to note the point Dr. Crawford made, regarding how the city’s portion is less than 17% of the property tax load — meaning city property taxes are just a portion of the local property taxes people pay as city property owners also pay taxes to the county, the school district, NRD and other taxing entities.

Also on this week’s agenda will be consideration of a general redevelopment plan, regarding the establishment of new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) areas with the elimination of some prior TIF areas.

The council meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m., in the council chambers, on Thursday, Sept. 7.

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