Two of York City's most powerful women will face off May 21 in a primary battle for the Democratic nomination to be York's mayor for the next four years.

York City Council President Carol Hill-Evans announced Monday that she will challenge incumbent Mayor Kim Bracey, who announced her own re-election bid in November.

That makes it a three-person race for the term that would begin in 2014 and end in 2018. Joe Beltrante, a 32-year-old landlord and business owner, said last week that he would seek the Democratic nomination.

Hill-Evans is currently serving her second term on the council. A year ago, the five-member board unanimously elected her council president, making Hill-Evans the first black woman to serve as council president in York's history.

Bracey's 2010 election made her the first black woman to become mayor.

Hill-Evans said Monday that she respects Bracey. She said she wants to avoid negativity during the campaign.

But the two women have some philosophical differences about government, Hill-Evans said.

"I just would like to try some different things that I think might be even better for the city," she said.

Hill-Evans said she will detail her platform in the coming weeks. She's still forming a campaign committee, she said.

Hill-Evans, 63, holds a bachelor's degree in business and a human resource management certificate from Penn State University. She lives on Irving Road.

She said she decided to run "because I keep hearing voices from the community that are asking for options."

One of those voices belongs to Michael Helfrich, a York City councilman who said he's been urging Hill-Evans for months to run for mayor.

"I have great confidence in her leadership abilities and in her ability to inspire the employees of the administration," Helfrich said. "I feel that Carol will be better at engaging the public and the concerns of the public."

Bracey, 49, could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.

As council president, Hill-Evans said she believes she has established a reputation as someone who listens to the public's concerns. She said that would remain a priority if she is elected mayor.

"What I don't like is the fact that I hear people all the time say, 'Nobody listens,'" she said. "In government, you have to listen to what the people are saying."

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