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InterLinc: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA and Lancaster County
Your Government at a Glance
City Departments

Building Safety

This departments responsibilities are related primarily to building construction and renovation, zoning, signs, energy conservation, flood plain and fire prevention. Staff members issue permits and inspect installations.

The Fire Prevention Bureau investigates fires, explosives, and carries out inspections, education and training programs.

Housing Code employees enforce minimum housing codes and inspect and license houses and apartment buildings.

City Attorneys Office

The City Attorney's Office provides legal advice to the mayor, City Council, departments, committees and commissions. This office also initiates and defends legal actions on behalf of the City, which may include appeals of City actions, labor relations, condemnations, civil rights and contract disputes. The office also prosecutes misdemeanor offenses such as traffic and motor vehicle violations, general peace and moral offenses, building code and health violations. Staff attorneys also research, draft and review contracts, ordinances, resolutions, deeds, executive orders, certificates of insurance and various applications and permits.


The department is responsible for appropriation, collection, investment and disbursement of City funds and administrates data processing and emergency communications functions. Divisions in the department are: City Treasurer, Budget, Purchasing, Accounting, City Clerk, Risk Management, Communications, Information Services and Pershing Auditorium. The department assists the mayor in the development of the annual budget and prepares all City bond issues.

The Communications Center is the 911 Emergency Phone Center for Lincoln and Lancaster County. All units of the Lincoln Police, Fire Department, County Sheriff, rural fire departments and emergency ambulance service are dispatched from this center.

Information Services coordinates computer needs and provides support for both the City and Lancaster County.

Pershing Auditorium is located in downtown Lincoln and is a city-owned municipal auditorium with a seating capacity of approximately 6,000.


The Lincoln Fire & Rescue Department provides a wide variety of emergency and non-emergency services. Fire and rescue response, advanced life support emergency medical, hazardous material response and both emergency and non emergency ambulance transportation are examples of services provided. In addition the department provides community fire education, planning, and business and home inspections when requested. The Department has 14 stations, 14 engine companies and four ladder companies and 11 ambulance vehicles strategically located in Lincoln. The average response time to emergencies is slightly more than three minutes. Because of joint efforts with other city departments and its heavy emphasis on public education, the number of fires and fire loss in Lincoln is normally 50% lower than in other cities of comparable size.


The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department provides services to city and county residents.

A nine-member Lincoln-Lancaster County Board of Health oversees the operations. Members include a city council person, county commissioner, physician, dentist and five lay people who are selected by the City Council and County Commissioners. The board appoints a director and sets policy for the department.

Programs administered by the department include communicable disease control; health and vital statistics; air pollution; animal control; child care licensing; food and general sanitation; occupational and dental health; health education; public health laboratory and nursing; child physicals; immunizations; Clean Community System; Lifetime Health; and Healthy Homes.


Lincoln's main library, Bennett Martin, is located in the downtown area. The system has several branch libraries and one bookmobile. In addition to books, magazines and other printed materials, the library loans sheet and recorded music, audiocassette books, videocassettes, and CD-ROMs.

Services include: Information/Reference Service, Home Outreach by Mail, Summer Reading Program, Story Time, Tours, meeting rooms and a special collection of works by Nebraska authors and materials on Lincoln and Nebraska history.

A Lincoln Library Board, appointed by the City Council, oversees library operations. The library serves the citizens of Lincoln and, through contract, the residents of rural Lancaster County.

Mayors Department

The primary goals of the Affirmative Action Office are 1) to provide an outreach recruitment program for the purpose of attracting women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities to the City of Lincoln workforce and to City advisory boards and commissions; 2) to implement a policy for all City personnel involved in the recruitment, screening, selection, promotion, disciplinary and related processes to ensure that the affirmative action program goals are implemented; and 3) to provide a training program for all City employees to ensure that they are educated with regard to the City and County policies on discrimination, harassment and affirmative action. The Affirmative Action Office reports directly to the Mayor.

The Citizen Information Center (CIC) provides a link between government and citizens by assisting the Mayor and departments in developing and disseminating timely and accurate information. Its responsibilities include writing, graphics maintaining the County/City website and video production including programming 5 CITY-TV, the government access channel, and the message service on cable channel 10.

The goals of the Human Rights Division are three-fold: 1) to eliminate and prevent discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation; 2) to support consistent equal employment opportunity practices of the Affirmative Action Program; and 3) to maintain all City contracts in compliance with equal opportunity and affirmative action rules and regulation. The agency investigates complaints of discrimination and makes recommendations to the Human Rights Commission.

Aging Services offers services supporting and prolonging independent living and an enhanced personal and social life for the elderly. Examples of these are: services to individuals/families, such as couseling, in-home assistance, home delivered meals, transportation; programs for volunteer and employment opportunities; and social activities, such as cultural, educational and health/wellness events at senior centers and other sites.

The agency is the main focal point for information, advocacy and coordination of concerns common to the older population for an eight-county area, which includes Lincoln and Lancaster County. The basis of funding is from the federal government (Administration on Aging), the state, eight counties, client contributions, fund raising, donations and the City of Lincoln.

There is an areawide advisory council for all eight counties which advises Lincoln and Lancaster County elected officials on programs/services sponsored on the local level.

The Lincoln-Lancaster Women's Commission goal is to eliminate social, economic and legal barriers that prevent women from choosing their roles in the family, the labor force and society in general.

Parks & Recreation

The Parks & Recreation Department is responsible for administering and maintaining all City parks. These facilities include recreation centers, golf courses, swimming pools, sports areas, an observatory, indoor rifle range, recreational trails, wildlife center and day camp. It coordinates City recreational activities, before and after school recereational child care programs, and the planting, maintenance and removal of City street and park trees.

A self-help program, administered by the department, offers technical assistance and capital improvement grants for neighborhood parks, in return for volunteer neighborhood labor in the installation of new park equipment.


The City of Lincoln/Lancaster County Personnel Department provides support to all City and County departments. It is responsible for applicant recruitment, testing and selection in accordance with sound merit principles. It coordinates employee training, conducts salary surveys, performs classification studies and recommends compensation. The department is also responsible for labor relations, maintaining employee records and administering all insurance and benefit programs.

Risk Management evaluates the Citys needs for insurance protection and processes claims against the City. The Countys Fiscal Officer provides County Commissioners and county agencies with budget and fiscal support and coordinates the operation and maintenance of the County Comprehensive Financial System. The City is self-insured which has saved taxpayer dollars.


The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department provides professional planning services to the City and Lancaster County. Planners assist the community in identifying and maintaining those qualities that make Lincoln a desirable place to live. Zoning and subdivision regulations, design standards, land use regulations, analysis and research are some of the responsibilities of this department.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan is developed and updated through this department.

In counties where a primary class city is located, state statutes call for the creation of a planning commission. The planning director serves as secretary of the commission. The Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission is responsible for helping develop a comprehensive land-use plan for Lincoln-Lancaster County and for making recommendations on land-use policies to the City Council and County Board. The Planning Commission consists of nine appointed members who are approved by the City Council and County Board.


The mission of the Lincoln Police Department is to protect the citizens of Lincoln and help preserve our family environment. The members of the department are committed to providing quality police services that promote a safe and secure community. The police department has been a nationally accredited agency since 1989.

Lincoln utilizes community policing in which the primary organizational goal is working cooperatively with individual citizens, groups of citizens, and both public and private organizations to identify and resolve issues which potentially effect the livability of specific neighborhoods, areas, or the city as a whole. Police services are divided into five geographical areas. A team of police officers provide services in their quadrant of the city. Under this concept, officers work with neighborhoods to form a problem solving partnership. Together, they deal with crime, disorder, social problems and other neighborhood issues.

The departments success is proven by the fact that Lincoln enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.

Public Works & Utilities

The Engineering Services/Street & Traffic Operations Division designs and oversees the construction of storm sewers, water mains, sanitary sewers and street improvement projects; maintains streets, storm sewers and public drainage ways and is responsible for snow removal and other maintenance functions; and is responsible for the movement of people and goods over public ways; provides a safe and efficient street system which is compatible with present and future land uses by a computerized signal control system, intersection and roadway widening improvements, resolving parking issues and properly signing and marking public ways.

The Department manages StarTran, the City-owned bus system. The transit system also provides handi-van services and coordinates a taxi program for elderly and handicapped patrons.

The Lincoln Water System pumps 12 billion gallons of water annually from wells located along the Platte River near Ashland. The water is treated, piped and distributed through nine pumping stations, 16 reservoirs and 1100 miles of mains. An estimated $86 million improvement to its Ashland facilities was completed in 1994.

The Lincoln Wastewater System operates two plants, treating approximately nine billion gallons of wastewater each year. The Theresa St. plant is located near 27th & Theresa and the Northeast plant is located near 70th & Cornhusker. Over 800 miles of sanitary sewers and 14 pump stations are maintained for collecting and conveying wastewater to the two treatment plants.

The Department operates two landfill sites. The North 48th St. landfill, just north of Superior, has a transfer station for use by citizens. Construction rubble is also taken there. The 56th St. & Bluff Road site is used by licensed commercial solid waste haulers. Gate fees are required at both sites. The City composts yard wastes which may not be placed in plastic bags. Although the Department maintains two landfills, private companies pick up rubbish and trash. These companies are listed in the yellow pages of the telephone book under Garbage Collection.

The City is involved in recycling to reduce the amount of trash taken to the landfills. The Recycling Office has developed several programs involving many retail outlets to promote waste reduction and recycling at home and at work.

The Business Office Division is responsible for financial and accounting functions, water and sewer meter readings, billings and collections, and office support services for the Department. It also is responsible for operating and managing approximately 8,200 parking spaces within the Central Business District, a key element in the growth and development of the Downtown. These parking spaces are distributed amongst parking structures, lots, and on-street space

Urban Development

The Community Development Division, Housing Rehabilitation & Real Estate Division and Workforce Investment Division are part of Urban Development Department.

Community Development Division administers Lincolnís federal Community Development Block Grant, HOME and Emergency Shelter Grant funds. These funds are used to benefit low and moderate income households and individuals, many of which are in the cityís older, core neighborhoods. Activities include residential, commercial and community revitalization programs and projects.

Housing Rehabilitation & Real Estate Division uses federal funds to administer a variety of housing rehabilitation programs for low and moderate income households. Other activities include development of new, affordable housing through partnerships with other agencies and organizations. For public projects, they are also responsible for property acquisition and disposition, providing relocation assistance when necessary.

Workforce Investment Division provides a wide range of workforce development opportunities to help individuals achieve and maintain economic self sufficiency. Depending on the needs and eligibility of each client, activities range from assessments of skills and abilities to occupational skill training.

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