City Council & County Commission
M I N U T E S
Friday, November 17, 2000 - 8:15 a.m.
County-City Building - Room 113
County Commissioners Present: Bob Workman, Common Chair; Kathy
Campbell, Bernie Heier, Larry Hudkins and Linda Steinman
City Council Members Present: Jon Camp, Common Vice Chair; Jeff
Fortenberry, Cindy Johnson, Annette McRoy and Coleen Seng
Others Present: Mayor Don Wesely, Mark Bowen and Jennifer
Brinkman, Mayor's Office; Dennis Nutter, Sigma Group, L.L.C.; Kathleen
Sellman, Kent Morgan and Steve Henrichsen, Planning Department; Dr. Jim
Ganser, Board of Health President; Mike Thurber, Corrections Director;
Kerry Eagan, County Chief Administrative Officer; Gwen Thorpe, Deputy
County Clerk; Steve Beal, Health Department; Allan Abbott and Roger
Figard, Public Works; Jim Linderholm, HWS Consulting; Darrell Podany, Jon
Camp's Office; Chris Hain and Mark Anderson, Lincoln Journal Star;
Phyllis Hergenrader, Terry Warner and other interested citizens; and Cori
Beattie, County Board Secretary
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Workman called for approval of the minutes from the September 15, 2000
and October 20, 2000 City-County Common meetings. Moved by Heier;
seconded by Campbell. Roll call vote. Ayes: Campbell, Heier, Hudkins,
Johnson, Seng, Steinman and Workman. Nays: None. Motion passed 7-0.
(Wesely, Fortenberry, McRoy and Camp had not yet arrived.)
COMMUNITY SURVEY RESULTS
Copies of the survey results on public attitudes and opinions regarding
planning and development issues in Lincoln and Lancaster County were
distributed (see Exhibit A; copy on file). Henrichsen said many
interesting results were detected which will be useful to the Planning
Commission, the Comprehensive Plan Committee and elected officials as the
planning process moves forward.
(McRoy arrived at 8:17 a.m.)
Nutter highlighted some of the report's findings. He indicated that 710
telephone surveys were performed; 507 in the city limits and 203 in the
County. The average call lasting about 13 minutes. For the most part,
people were very willing to answer the questions.
Sample characteristics were as follows:
(Mayor Wesely arrived at 8:25 a.m.)
Nutter noted that respondents were first asked these questions:
1. "All things considered, what one thing do you like best about living
in Lincoln/Lancaster County?"; and
2. "What don't you like or what is most frustrating about living in
Best aspects (partial list in order of most responses):
1. small town atmosphere
2. neat, clean, nice community
3. convenience, easy to get to
4. safe, not much violence
Worst aspects (partial list in order of most responses):
2. taxes too high
3. not enough entertainment/culture
4. growing too fast
Nutter discussed the importance of planning objectives/priorities to
citizens. Growth which preserves environmental qualities was noted as
"very important" by a majority of the respondents. Such issues as
preserving the quality of rural life, preserving the character of
neighborhoods, preserving historical/architectural features and high-tech
infrastructure were noted as "somewhat important." Respondents used the
phrase "extremely important" sparingly.
In reference to transportation, Nutter indicated that the following
issues fell between the "somewhat important" and "very important"
1. develop highways/beltways
2. further develop trails
3. better airline services
4. widen east-west and north-south roads
5. encourage car pooling
6. develop County roads
The most important objectives for Lincoln/Lancaster County were found to
1. traffic - improve flow = 35%
2. schools/education = 7%
3. taxes - cut taxes/spending = 6%
4. manage/balance growth = 6%
5. preserve natural environmental/land = 6%
6. preserve character/architecture of neighborhoods = 5%
In reference to the question about using public funds to make
improvements to keep/attract employers, 3 out of 5 respondents preferred
that funds not be used.
Respondents were also asked about issues regarding involvement in the
community's planning process. Results were as follows:
1. know how to be involved = 48%
2. well informed about meetings = 46%
3. would attend neighborhood meetings = 76%
4. would attend city-wide meetings = 51%
5. would use Internet to find information = 60%
Steinman said the results show that while people wish to preserve older
neighborhoods, they also want wider streets. She asked if Sigma Group
followed up on this contrast. Nutter said the survey's results
ultimately showed that people place greater importance on preservation
than on street widening. Taking that comment into consideration,
Steinman said many then indicated that traffic was the biggest problem.
Nutter noted that this can be viewed as a positive sign - when traffic is
the biggest complaint, it suggests the community is a good place to live
since issues like crime and safety are further down on the list.
Seng said in the 1970's, citizens felt they could not take part in local
government. She referred to the percentage which indicated they would be
involved or at least know how to obtain related information. Steinman
asked whether the information available via 5-City TV or the Internet was
adding to people's understanding of government. Nutter said the survey
did not touch on this specifically.
Sellman thanked the City Council and County Commissioners for funding the
survey. She said this information will be a good foundation in moving
forward with the Comprehensive Plan. Henrichsen said results from the
entire survey will hopefully be available on the Internet by Monday,
November 20, 2000. Black and white copies will also be available from
the Planning Department.
STATUS OF BELTWAY, DECISION TIMETABLE AND STEVENS CREEK PROJECT
Workman stated that Commissioners Campbell and Heier have conflicts of
interest and will not be taking part in this discussion. He solicited
questions from other Common members.
Hudkins asked if the beltway's historic boundaries have been defined.
Linderholm said the Federal Highway Administration has approved the
current version of the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for
processing to the merge agencies, i.e., Corps of Engineers, Environmental
Protection Agency, Fish & Wildlife Service, Game & Parks Commission,
Federal Transit Authority. The agencies have a minimum of thirty (30)
days to review the document. All historic studies were completed to FHA
(Jon Camp arrived at 9:00 a.m.)
Hudkins asked when officials will be able to vote on the beltway.
Linderholm said the process is very similar to what the City went through
with Antelope Valley. He felt that the merge agencies should return
their comments by the end of December or early January. Staff would work
as quickly as possible to incorporate those comments into the DEIS,
perhaps by the first of February. Copies could then be published and
available to the public in anticipation of setting a hearing date for the
Linderholm noted that the very earliest date for a public hearing would
be the beginning of March, and this is being optimistic, especially since
there are many aspects of the process which are out of local control.
Figard clarified that the public hearing Linderholm is referring to would
be on the DEIS. A public hearing on the planning process and final
decision would be held after that time.
Wesely asked if May or June seems more likely for final approval of the
project. Linderholm said this will depend as after the public hearing,
elected officials will have to decide which way things will proceed. One
consideration will be whether the south beltway and east beltway should
be separate projects or remain together. Another consideration would be
the beltway implementation schedules - same or different. Such a
decision could be made after the initial public hearing or anytime during
the planning process. He stressed that if the project is to receive
federal funds, local government must abide by federal guidelines.
Workman asked how the beltway fits in with the Stevens Creek project.
Sellman said the Stevens Creek project is working on some general
guidelines which will be used to describe the types of development that
will occur. Due to the lack of definite information pertaining to a
specific beltway location, all options are being considered. She did not
know if the specific location of the beltway is essential to the
completion of the Stevens Creek process. But delaying the guidelines on
other aspects of development in Stevens Creek is probably not a good
idea. She felt that as much information should be obtained and ready to
move forward with the rest of the comprehensive planning so that things
are not on hold in the area indefinitely. As pieces of the beltway
project come forward, they will be incorporated into the planning process
for Stevens Creek since the beltway will make a difference to the overall
transportation system. Linderholm noted that he has been meeting with
the Stevens Creek Committee to discuss beltway issues.
Workman questioned what constitutes a noise impact. Linderholm said it
is a decibel level measured from a certain distance. This measurement
can project what the noise level would be with a four-lane expressway.
He added that there is greater sensitivity to noise intrusion of highway
systems with a variety of ways to mitigate any noise.
Workman asked what constitutes a residential relocation. Linderholm said
this would include buying the property or residence. If the property is
in the right-of-way, it will be needed for the project and would have to
be purchased. If it is outside the corridor, the property would not
"have" to be purchased. The width of the corridor is approximately 300'
and may vary from location to location. The DEIS shows detailed, fairly
accurate drawings of roadway locations.
(Mayor Wesely left at 9:15 a.m.)
Workman said a bus tour of the beltway area may be beneficial so that
City Council and County Board members have a better perspective.
Linderholm said this is a good idea and he would be happy to make the
provisions for the tour. He added that officials will not be able to
actually go on people's property - the tour would be mostly visionary.
He said another good reason to tour the area would be to obtain a clearer
view of where houses are being constructed and the potential impacts
Seng said the Antelope Valley tours were very educational in part because
certain things were marked. She asked if there is any way to do such
marking before a tour of the beltway area. Linderholm said there are
some detailed, aerial photographs which he felt would be a better way to
view the area. He thought markings would be difficult to do with this
project but agreed that a tour is important.
Hudkins said he had a question unrelated to the beltway or Stevens Creek
projects. Evidently, Rick Haden, formerly of Public Works, had indicated
that after the Embassy Suites and the new parking garage were open,
another look would be given at having two lanes turn off 9th
Street onto "P" Street. Hudkins said he observed traffic backed up past
the 9th Street viaduct this morning. Figard said staff is
reviewing the situation.
(Cindy Johnson left at 9:25 a.m.)
BOARD OF HEALTH QUARTERLY REPORT
Ganser distributed copies of information which a Board of Health member
found on the Internet regarding "the essential services of public health"
(see Exhibit B; copy attached). He felt this was the best definition of
what should be accomplished and what local officials should be expecting
from the Board of Health.
Ganser discussed a number of current issues. He said the Health
Endowment priorities were developed by the Board of Health to establish
an innovative response to providing prescription drugs. Another
objective is to improve case management of mental health and substance
abuse patients. He added that the latter will be the hardest to
accomplish. Mental health is one of the most under-funded areas in the
State of Nebraska; 72 counties do not have a psychiatrist available to
treat patients. The National Board of Health has noted that to take
these patients and place them in a foster home/institutional setting
would cost $70,000. Keeping patients at home with regular visits by
mental health professionals would cost only $7,000 to $9,000/ year.
Ganser said another important area is increased availability of health
information to the community and data collection to better target health
policy and resources. He mentioned the Youth Risk Behavior Study and how
this information has attributed to the accomplishments of the Health
Department. Also, he noted the importance of the State tobacco funds and
that they be used for public health. Various groups have asked that
these funds be diverted for them to build a research facility. Another
group proposed the Legislature keep 1/3 of the funds for their own
priorities. Ganser said Nebraska is 49 of 50 in allocating funds for
public health. He feels it is important that these dollars be used to
encourage public health in communities throughout the State. Any contact
by local officials to the Legislature regarding this matter would be very
It has been proposed to merge the Community Health Endowment, the Public
Health Foundation and the Lancaster County Health Department. He feels
it would be a tremendous advantage to have most health organizations
together as one body. The Board of Health would act as the policy-making
group to provide direction with feedback from hospitals, medical society,
dental association, etc., and input from the City Council, the County
Board and the Mayor. The goal is to establish a stronger working
relationship between the Board of Health and local officials so that at
budget time there will be no surprises for anyone.
In regard to the Community Health Endowment, Ganser noted that children's
environmental health and food safety are priorities. He added that
Lincoln is a national trend setter in that there is a nice amalgamation
of food professionals in helping to attain these priorities. Other
considerations are land use planning, sewage ordinances and pollution
prevention. The Health Department received a grant to begin a program on
pollution prevention through business to reward and encourage them for
being environmental conscience and to continue these practices.
Ganser stated that Lincoln was recently selected as the nation's fifth
"Well City." The Health Department has been working for this designation
for three years. This entails having 20% of the workforce being employed
in a well workplace company as identified by the Wellness Council of
America. The criteria is very stringent and includes the evaluation of
such things as employee's interest, health, culture, etc. For example,
many local businesses have built their own fitness facilities and hired
ergonomic managers. In doing so, productivity has increased by 5% and
worker's compensation and time off have decreased by almost 20%.
In reference to the mobile health van's dental division, 16,082 people
were seen during the last year - of these, 4,750 were children. Thirty
percent were referred to dental care and 7% were identified as needing
priority care. A group of public health nurses has done a tremendous job
in local schools promoting this program. Ganser added that during these
observations, nurses are identifying children who may be subject to
physical abuse since nearly 60% of abused children have bruises to the
face, neck or teeth area.
Budgetary considerations for the upcoming year include the problem of
staffing nursing positions. Ganser contacted Bryan/LGH who now offers a
$5,000 hiring bonus for nurses. At the present time, the City-County
Health Department is short 4 full-time and 6 part-time positions.
The Animal Control Advisory Committee has moved to an ongoing committee
to advise the Board of Health in all animal control and licensing issues.
It is a broad-based group of extremely dedicated individuals with various
degrees of expertise.
In regard to the influenza vaccine, Ganser wanted officials to know that
the shortage is due to the manufacturer electing to send the earliest
shipments of the vaccine to those willing to pay the most. Therefore,
the City-County Health Department will be further down on the
Ganser called attention to the summer food program. From June to August,
37,497 meals were served in the City of Lincoln. This represents an
increase of 6,000 lunches and 5,250 breakfasts from 1999. He commented
that Russwood Chrysler Plymouth donated the use of two vans -
approximately a $6,000 savings to the Health Department. Without this
generous contribution, it would have been impossible to serve this many
people. The food program cost about $9,000 with Lincoln Public Schools
preparing and serving the meals. The people served qualified at poverty
(Jeff Fortenberry left at 9:37 a.m.)
Ganser said Lincoln and Lancaster County received funding for community
and school-based projects related to tobacco use. Outreach to racial and
ethnic populations has funding up to $103,000. The partnerships formed
will hopefully keep youth from starting tobacco use and from protecting
public workers from environmental tobacco use. He added that many
community and business leaders are included in the project to assure that
the program brought to local officials is one which is supported by all.
It was noted that a huge change will be taking place in the next decade
in relation to the elderly as a 30% increase in this population is
expected. Ganser noted that an outreach nurse who worked with the
elderly was cut from last year's budget. Officials will eventually be
placed in a position where increased pressures comes from the elderly
population. Someone will be called upon to provide for this group -
whether it be the Health Department or the Agency on Aging. He added
that reinforcement of long-term planning (which was previously done with
regard to the elderly) will be time well-spent. Camp asked that the
Board of Health and Health Department continue to focus on these
important issues and remind elected officials of such trends so that
adequate budgetary planning can be done.
Ganser commented that the Health Department consists of many unbelievable
employees who are extremely qualified and dedicated; the City-County
would be hard pressed to replace them. At some in point, officials will
have to consider absolute increases if the department is going to
continue to accomplish the goals of serving an increasingly demanding
The Board of Health's Annual Meeting will be on Tuesday, January 9, 2001
at 6:30 p.m. The speaker will be Dr. Richard Jackson who will be
addressing children's environmental health issues. Dr. Jackson is the
current Director of Environmental Health at the National Center for
Hudkins thanked Dr. Ganser's for his leadership and enthusiasm on the
Board of Health.
CORRECTIONS NEEDS ASSESSMENT
Thurber distributed a handout regarding the Corrections Needs Assessment
and Master Plan (see Exhibit C; copy attached). He noted that the
Department of Corrections and the jail is experiencing overcrowding.
Growth has increased approximately 20% in the last 1« years.
The County Board asked that an RFP be developed to have a study done on
a total systems approach of how and who we are incarcerating in Lancaster
County. All stakeholders in the criminal justice system are being
included in the process. Voorhis/Robertson Justice Services, Inc., of
Boulder, Colorado has been retained to do the study. A mapping session
will be conducted in the future which will show exactly how people are
entered into the system by law enforcement, the decisions which are made
at the time of arrest and how an adult is worked through the entire
system to see if there are any gaps or to find out exactly what is being
done. Space needs will also be reviewed.
Thurber noted that the City will continue to be involved in the process
and assistance will be sought when meeting with any committees. The
consultants will be interviewing County Commissioners and judges and City
Council members are welcomed to participate if so desired. A letter will
be sent from the County Board to law enforcement and judges regarding the
upcoming mapping session. Results of the study hope to be available next
RESULTS FROM COMMON SURVEY
Workman said 10 of 13 surveys were returned. In regard to frequency,
there was a tie between monthly and bimonthly. Top choices
for meeting day were Tuesdays or alternating Mondays and
Tuesdays. The preference for time of day was 12:00 p.m.
Workman noted that this information will probably be more beneficial to
next year's chairperson, although, he may choose a different date for the
meeting in December since Fridays do not seem to be a convenient day for
most Common members.
(Hudkins left at 9:55 a.m.)
Steinman moved to adjourn the meeting; seconded by McRoy. Roll call
vote. Ayes: Campbell, Heier, McRoy, Steinman, Seng, Workman and Camp.
Nays: None. Motion passed 7-0.
Cori R. Beattie
County Board Secretary
- Gender = 358 males; 352 females;
- Average age of respondent = 45.9 years;
- Average number of people in household = 2.64;
- Households with children under age 18 = 35%;
- Residence type = 82% live in a town or city in Lancaster County;
- Length of residency = 72% lived in their home 10 years or more;
- Ethnic background = 96% white
- Annual household income = 16% over $75,000 (average was $47,850)