York County Council Chairman Buddy Motz is a good neighbor. Motz has proposed that York County pay back Lancaster County after tax dollars it should have received accidentally ended up in York County's coffers.
The confusion stems from the fact that the state Department of Revenue lists the ZIP code for Indian Land as a York County ZIP code. Because of that, 32 businesses in Indian Land, which is in Lancaster County, mistakenly paid some sales taxes to York County.
The mistake was discovered when the Lancaster County fire marshal noticed the wrong prefix on a retail license for one of the businesses. After digging a little deeper, he found the problem was more widespread.
The Department of Revenue has been contacted, and the problem will be corrected. But state officials say errors like this one can be corrected only for future tax payments, not retroactively.
That means it is up to local officials to work out an arrangement among themselves to pay back the money. Thankfully, it appears Motz is prepared to do the right thing. He said he hopes the council members will approve the payment to Lancaster County during Monday night's council meeting.
Figuring out how much money should be returned might pose a problem. York County officials hope the Department of Revenue will calculate how much money the Indian Land businesses paid the county.
But that should be a minor stumbling block. The important thing is the commitment to pay the money back even if state statutes don't require it.
York County Council members then will have a clear conscience.
Oh, and Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis has promised to take York County council members and County Manager Jim Baker out to dinner. It's fitting that neighbors sit down to a friendly meal now and then.