City of Lincoln
2004 Media Releases
A five-year budget forecast for the City of Lincoln indicates that despite the City’s excellent bond ratings and strong financial reserves, action will be necessary to either curtail City services or increase revenues. The City Finance Department presented the forecast at today’s budget meeting of the City Council.
The five-year forecast is a projection of expenses from the 2005-2006 fiscal year through the 2009-2010 fiscal year. It includes the estimated cost of current City services plus possible additions, such as more police officers and firefighters, capital maintenance and improvement projects and other future needs.
“The forecast gives us a picture of our fiscal needs and our projected revenues as we begin preparing the next City budget,” said Mayor Seng. “It is clear from the forecast that, as we warned last year, the City will need to control spending or face the consequences of deep cuts if the revenues do not keep pace with the growth of the community. This will be a year of tough choices, difficult cuts and lean spending.”
Sales tax revenues, which fund 44 percent of City’s operating budget, are below projections, Mayor Seng said she will direct City Departments to begin looking for savings and to work with the City Council on possible service cuts to reduce the next City budget, which will be adopted next summer.
“The forecast shows many community needs, and departments are requesting numerous bond votes over the five-year period,” said Mayor Seng. “That is a clear sign of the backlog of needs that accumulate in a growing city. The real question is what we as a community can afford.”
The property tax provides only 28 percent of the City’s operating funds. During the past ten years the City property tax rate has been cut 42 percent, from 51 cents per $100 of assessed value in 1991 to its current rate of 29.5 cents. Of the total property taxes paid by property owners, less than 15 percent goes to the City, and the other 85 percent goes to other City and County government agencies.
According to available ratings, the City is one of only 39 in the nation to have the highest bond ratings available from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the nation’s top rating agencies.