YORK, Pa. — With 2019 in full swing, York City’s Mayor now has one year of experience under his belt. Michael Helfrich feels like the groundwork has been laid for big advancements in the coming years.
He sat down with CBS21’s Michael Gorsegner for a one-on-one interview about the state of York City.
“I would describe it as a foundation year. We have a lot of big plans,” he said.
One-year down and a lot of lessons learned for York City Mayor Michael Helfrich. His introduction to office was filled with tragedy.
In the first five months, York City lost two firefighters and a police officer, in the line of duty, with another cop shot during the U.S. Marshal’s raid in Harrisburg.
“It’s been a lot of death around here. More than the past 100 years,” Helfrich said.
Still, the government wheels keep spinning. Helfrich believes crime is the number one issue in the city. The homicide rate is down but shootings were up compared to 2017.
“We can’t police our way out of crime. It doesn’t work that way. Crime is a social issue,” said Helfrich.
And changing some of the social ills starts with getting the kids off the streets. New community centers are opening and soon, all of the city’s K through 8 schools will be open until 9 p.m. with recreational and educational chances for kids and adults.
“We can completely change the city,” Helfrich said.
Financially, the immediate future is tough. The 2019 budget borrowed $2.8 million from reserves to pay for rising healthcare and prescription costs, something that needs to change.
“That’s not a trend that is sustainable. So, we are going to be working harder on that,” said Helfrich.
Workforce development is another key target for the mayor in 2019. He is trying to team up with HAAC to provide educational opportunities for residents, proving there is a talented pool of workers to draw in new businesses to the White Rose City.