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2007 Media Releases


Date:
August 30, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


MAYOR OUTLINES VISION IN STATE OF THE CITY

State of the City Speech

In his first State of the City address today, Mayor Chris Beutler said there is a new attitude at City Hall and challenged citizens to join him in creating a vision of Lincoln as a “world class” city. He thanked the members of the City Council for their partnership during his first few months as Mayor.

“We are working together as a team, and it is clear they share a great love of this City and a great faith in its possibilities,” said Beutler. “With those things in common, we have no need to dwell on our differences. We can work together. We have worked together. We will work together in the future. And Lincoln will be better off for it.”

Beutler said the State of the City is strong and growing stronger. “Our finances are fundamentally sound. Our neighborhoods are vibrant. Our economy is gaining momentum. Optimism is around every corner. But I still start every day asking, ‘How can we be even better?’” Beutler said he is making good on all the promises he made during his campaign and when he took the oath of office:

  • He worked with the Council and City staff to balance the City budget with no property tax increase.
  • The Mayor and Council are implementing a plan for an independent audit board to conduct performance audits of City departments.
  • His administration has taken the first steps to create a centralized development permitting process for business. “The people who use the system every day know best what needs to change,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Chamber, LIBA, the Realtors and the Home Builders to make Lincoln the most business friendly City in the State.”
  • Beutler hired a “top-quality” Fire Chief, Niles Ford, who attended the address with his wife, Carrie. Ford will begin his new job October 1.
  • He has taken steps to battle meth crimes by replacing federal and state funds lost to the local drug task force and adding a financial investigator to put more pressure on drug dealers.
  • He has strengthened the City’s partnership with Lincoln Public Schools, preserving School Resource Officers and creating a community-use gym for the future Arnold Elementary.
  • Beutler created a Mayor’s Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy or MOVE Council, which has already developed a more useful policy on tax increment financing.
  • To address the need for funds to build roads, the administration is reviewing ways to build roads more cost effectively and examining modern financing tools and State law to determine how we dedicate more money to road building.

Beutler thanked City employees for increasing their productivity and for responding to the changing culture in local governments. “We are asking the hard questions. We are insisting on accountability. We are demanding more,” Beutler said.

Beutler said the Lincoln can only achieve its vision with community consensus, and he asked for help in leading the City to “a higher and better place.”

“In the past, our visions of the future seemed fuzzy and unattainable for most people, because the challenges of the present obscured our vision of what we could become,” he said. “As a result, Lincoln has been defined by its limitations, rather than its tremendous strengths. The voices of obstruction have been louder than the voices of cooperation. We have been forced to accept too little, and not demanded enough. It made a hopeful vision of the future difficult to see and nearly impossible to reach.

“Those days are over. A new optimism is growing in the heart of Lincoln. People are starting to embrace a new, powerful vision of what we can become. They are beginning to understand that now can be our time.”

In his vision of the future, Mayor Beutler said he sees a City where all neighborhoods are safe, where entrepreneurs can prosper, where young people stay after college, and “where new roads speed passengers to good jobs.” He said his vision includes beautiful parks and trails, a thriving downtown, a new arena and sports triangle and a strong arts community.

“In short, I envision a world class city that backs down from no challenge, where we tell every potential new business and every potential new family, ‘We are Lincoln, Nebraska, and we are on the move.’”

Mayor Beutler’s entire speech is available on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov. Click on the 5 CITY-TV icon for video on demand.


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