York City residents might want to consider attending the York City Council's committee meeting Wednesday.

Judging by the agenda, it's going to be a doozy.

Among the items up for discussion: a proposal to discontinue the city's use of a fire-alarm system that's been in place since 1886; a proposal to regulate the booting of vehicles parked illegally on private property; and a proposal to increase the number of food-cart vendors allowed on Continental Square from one to 12.

Wednesday's meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 101 S. George St. Because it is a committee meeting, the council won't be making any final decisions. The meeting is open to the public.

City officials have been mulling the future of the Gamewell fire alarm system since earlier this year.

The city's acting fire chief, David Michaels, has estimated 320 properties - mostly businesses - and 83 street boxes are connected to the system. Triggered by smoke in a building or by someone activating a street box, an alarm travels through electricity directly to the city's fire stations.

But the system's aging infrastructure has made it vulnerable to failures and expensive to maintain.

According to a memo from Michaels and public works Director Jim Gross, it would cost the city more than $730,000 to upgrade the Gamewell system.

The proposal before the city council would mean properties currently connected to the Gamewell system would instead be required to contract with a private fire-alarm company.


Also Wednesday, the council will discuss a proposal to amend the city's law that regulates booting. The proposed amendment would extend regulation to companies that boot on private property.

For example, upon discovering an illegally parked vehicle in a private lot, booting companies would be required to wait 15 minutes before booting the vehicle. Companies would also be prohibited from charging more than $75 for the removal of a boot on a vehicle illegally parked on private property.

According to Councilman Henry Nixon, the goal is to prevent booting companies from engaging in predatory practices - a problem that triggered a similar towing ordinance approved in 2011.

"It makes good sense since this is being done, that at least we license it, we make sure that the public is safe," Nixon said.

As for the Continental Square proposal, Nixon said he thinks it's "just simply wrong to limit it to only one food cart."

To be clear, food carts - which must be hand-operated - are not synonymous with food trucks. Nixon said he believes additional food carts would not create a serious problem for brick-and-mortar restaurants.

"I think it'd be great to see more," Nixon said. "This is not really competition. If anything, it's going to bring a little bit more variety, keep everybody on their toes and might be fun."

- Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.