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United Way of Lancaster County


Here’s a first look at estimates for the Home Rule Study Commission’s budget

(Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

The first phase of the Home Rule Study Commission’s work is expected to cost a little over $100,000, City Hall is projecting.

If the commission concludes a home rule charter is desirable and moves forward with drafting one, that will add an estimated $143,000, for a total of a little over $245,000.

The figures are only preliminary conjectures, city officials emphasize. They are based on discussions of potential needs, and actual expenditures could be significantly different.

(Source: City of Lancaster)

The city is roughing out the commission’s budget in order to submit a grant to the state Department of Community & Economic Development’s Strategic Management Planning Program.

On Tuesday, City Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution approving the grant application. The city is seeking up to $126,500 from DCED, which the city will match dollar-for-dollar. The grant is based on a one-year time frame.

DCED’s program is competitive, and applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, said Tina Campbell, the city’s community fund development manager.

That’s why submitting the application promptly is important. Later on, the study commission will be able to submit a revised budget with actual expenses.

DCED generally takes about 90 days to rule on grants applications, Campbell said. If it becomes necessary, the city is prepared to seek funding elsewhere.

The $126,500 in the grant application includes $27,000 for the city’s annual audit. That’s not related to the Home Rule Study Commission’s work, Campbell said, but it’s being folded into the application because it’s been covered under the Strategic Management Planning Program in past years.

“It will not be part of the Home Rule Commission budget,” she said.

The study commission will have its own audit at the end of its work, which the city will cover as an in-kind service.

Budget categories

The expense types in the draft budget include legal assistance, travel, promotion, administration and professional services.

The city is providing its match in the form of in-kind services. That includes the use of City Council chambers and its livestreaming equipment for commission meetings; document copying and printing; the legal services of Solicitor Barry Handwerger; and the professional services of City Clerk Bernie Harris.

Under professional services that the commission will pay for are those of the Pennsylvania Economy League, which is charging a flat fee of $3,250 per month.

There is $3,000 allocated in each phase for hiring paid interns, as suggested by commission member Tony Dastra. They would be compensated at $15 per hour.

There are line items for travel, legal ads for meetings and postage. An “Other” category covers miscellaneous expenses and court reporting services in the event of official commission hearings.

Commission member Darlene Byrd on Thursday noted a potential expense that’s not yet listed: The commission wants to hold neighborhood meetings, which will likely require renting venues.