City of Lincoln
2005 Media Releases
Financing infrastructure needed to create jobs, maintaining Lincoln’s quality of life and holding the line on taxes were the key themes Mayor Coleen J. Seng stressed in her annual State of the City address Monday afternoon.
“Our economy is strong and growing. City government is well-managed and frugal. Taxes are low and will stay that way,” Seng told the Lincoln City Council and guests in the Council Chambers.
Seng’s speech highlighted the local employers who have added jobs. According to the State Labor Department, local jobs are up more than 1,300 above last year. She outlined the City’s progress toward creating a new industrial park in west Lincoln and breaking ground later this year for the first sewer trunk pipe into the Stevens Creek basin for future development east of Lincoln. Seng stressed the progress on building the Antelope Valley flood control project and the State’s progress on the south beltway.
To address the ongoing street funding gap, the Mayor told the Council she will introduce a multi-phased infrastructure package that includes adoption of the RUTS (Rural to Urban Transition Streets) program, continuing to seek changes in the State gas tax formula and a renewed discussion of a local occupation tax on unleaded fuel.
Seng said Lincoln is a strong, growing community, with City property taxes lower than three-fourths of the state’s cities. “Our greatest challenge continues to be how to provide infrastructure,” she said. “To paraphrase a line from the movie Field of Dreams, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ But if we don’t build the infrastructure, jobs won’t come.”
Maintaining clean, desirable neighborhoods is a top priority, Seng said, and revitalizing the 48th and “O” Street area will improve both the business and residential neighborhoods. Seng also announced she will unveil an interactive Internet program later this year for residents to submit inquiries and track the resolution of complaints.
Seng called on Lincoln residents to adopt her positive attitude to promote the community and its strengths. “Lincoln is succeeding, and we can be proud of our City,” she said. “We are adding population and adding jobs. Despite these positives, some naysayers look at the glass as half-empty. But the rest of us look at Lincoln’s growth and our strong economy and celebrate our successes. We are optimistic about our abilities. We are Lincoln and proud of it. At the same time, we must do more, and we are.”
“Visitors, out-of-town friends and business colleagues will repeat what you say about your hometown of Lincoln,” she said. “Lincoln is a great town, a great community, and a community of opportunity. If we are not optimistic about our own community, don’t expect others to be.”
Seng described how she meets regularly with Lincoln residents in their homes all over the City. She asks them to invite their friends and relatives, co-workers and neighbors so she can listen to the people. “It is part of who I am, and it is part of the leadership I have always provided to this community.” she said. “I am an inclusive servant leader who involves the community to build consensus and make decisions. As your Mayor, I may speak softly, but I am not shy about enforcing a bold vision for Lincoln that is always expanding.”
Seng called the 2005-2006 budget “lean” and stressed there were no new spending programs. The City tax-supported operating budget will increase 2.3 percent over the current year, excluding the voter-approved storm sewer bond and the infrequent additional 27th pay period. The proposed general fund operating budget will be $131 million.
The Mayor thanked City Council members for their contributions to the upcoming budget. She also complimented City department directors for their fiscal management. “We made tough choices and developed a plan that kept spending in check,” she said.