For 30 years Bobby Brunner was a drug addict living in York. He spent a lot of that time on the streets. “I never went to rehab or nothing, weened myself off of everything and I’ve been clean and sober for 13 years” said Brunner. With a new lease on life, he wanted to help others in his neighborhood, but didn’t really know how. Until a terrible event happened 5 years ago. “The Chestnut Street fires as we all remember in 2009 destroyed 16 row homes, 61 families were displaced” said Brunner.
At the urging of his granddaughter he organized a fundraiser, which was a success. That sparked him to start Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Since then he’s hosted roughly 60 events giving donated items like food and clothing to those who need it. Every single time the city waived the $35 dollar permit fee, but not this time. “In 2014 we have put the breaks on allowing for free permits, this is a different age in the city of York. We are up against some major fiscal challenges” said York’s mayor Kim Bracey. She said the tax base is declining and costs are going up, which makes every dollar count.
Mayor Bracey also said that in the past Brunner had always come to her office directly for a permit. This time a colleague of his who doesn’t live in the city tried to get it. “If he would have talked to me as he had done in the past we would not have this story. I wish him well at the event and I’m glad he’s there to help the many people in our community that have a need” said Bracey. The mayor said that because paper work has already been filed the decision to charge for the permit will stand. Brunner said he still plans to hold the give away on September 6th in Albermarle Park in York.