York City officials might ask baseball fans to pitch in toward the cash-strapped city's 2013 budget.

Included in a first-draft budget proposal unveiled Wednesday is an admissions tax projected to raise $150,000 next year.

According to the city's business administrator, most of that revenue would come from a 5 percent tax on ticket sales at Sovereign Bank Stadium, where the York Revolution baseball team plays.

The tax on entertainment has actually been on York City books for decades, Michael O'Rourke said.

But, with a lack of ticketed venues in the city, the ordinance hasn't been enforced for a long time, he said.

"There weren't enough places that would have to pay to cover the cost of enforcing it," O'Rourke said.

The admissions tax re-emerged as a topic of discussion about four years ago, when it was recommended as a revenue generator in an Early Intervention Program report. But its implementation has been delayed because of ambiguities in the law, O'Rourke said.

For example, O'Rourke said, he's not sure if ticket sales at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center would be subject to the tax. Some language in the ordinance might be interpreted as an exemption for nonprofit organizations, he said.

The $150,000 figure was calculated based on attendance figures at Sovereign Bank Stadium, O'Rourke said. If the tax is approved for the 2013 budget, it would most likely go into effect before the Revolution's 2013 season begins, he said.


Wednesday's hearing was the third of five this week for city administrators to present their budget requests for 2013. Before December, Mayor Kim Bracey will propose an official budget to the York City Council, which then has until the end of the year to approve a balanced budget.

Last year, that process ended in a 17 percent property-tax hike in a city where property owners already pay far more in school and municipal taxes than anywhere else in the county.

On Thursday, the city's fire and police departments - which account for the largest chunk of city expenses - will present their proposed budgets. O'Rourke explained at an earlier meeting that the two departments consume all city tax dollars and then some.

Taxes, including property tax and all others, amount to 53 percent of the general fund's annual revenue. Seventy percent of the fund goes to the police and fire departments, O'Rourke said.

All other departments are self-sustaining or supported by other sources, like fines, fees and grants.

- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.