York mayoral candidate Joe Beltrante obviously cares about the city.

Running for office is no walk in the park. It takes time, money and effort -- with no guarantee any of it will pay off.

One needs passion to take on such an endeavor.

But one also needs to live in the municipality he wishes to represent.

Beltrante has been upfront about owning a home in Manchester Township in which his family resides. He also owns property on South Queen Street in York he originally intended to rent out. Failing to do so, he says he's taken to living in the house "part time" so he can keep an eye on it.

The neighborhood is not so great, Beltrante said, which is one reason he decided to run for mayor.

No one else in the current administration is doing anything to make it better, he claims.

But two city residents are challenging Beltrante's eligibility to run, and they make a compelling case.

According to Pennsylvania election law, a candidate must reside in the district they want to represent for at least a year prior to the election. Beltrante is seeking the Democratic nomination in the May 21 primary election, meaning he would had to have lived in the city since May 21, 2012.

However, the petition challenging his eligibility points out he voted in the Nov. 6, 2012, election at a precinct in Manchester Township.

Beltrante doesn't dispute that, and says he simply hadn't changed his voter registration information in time to vote in the city.


In that case, he actually was required to vote at his former precinct, but he also was required to inform election officials he had moved and fill out an affirmation declaring his new address. The county then would have updated its records after the election and sent him a new voter registration card.

Beltrante registered to vote in the city in January.

The petitioners also note the candidate receives tax relief through the Homestead and Farmstead Exclusion program on his Manchester Township home. The program is restricted to owner-occupied properties -- and Beltrante is listed as the owner of the Manchester Township home.

Beltrante said he made a mistake when filing his Homestead paperwork, and his driver's license and all of his tax documents are tied to the Queen Street residence.

A judge soon will be deciding his eligibility, but taken together these two issues raise concerns.

The fact that Beltrante recently refused to say how much time he lives in the city home is equally concerning.

Perhaps what disturbed us the most, however, is that he seems to think it doesn't matter to anyone where he lives.

"How many nights a week do I spend there? Honestly, I travel a lot," Beltrante said. "I could live on the moon. The only thing people really care about is what my ideas are."

It does matter.

One, it's the law.

Two, residents of York don't simply invest in the city -- they're invested in the city. They deal with its good and bad, day in and day out.

They don't have the option of dropping in when they feel like it and heading back to the suburbs when the urge strikes them.

That doesn't mean a non-city resident can't care about York and work to improve it.

It just means he or she can't do it from the mayor's office.