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2008 Media Releases


Date:
July 18, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Steve Hukka, City Budget Officer, 441-7698


MAYOR PRESENTS BUDGET CHANGES TO CITY COUNCIL

Mayor Chris Beutler today outlined several changes in his proposed City budget for 2008-2009 at a meeting with the City Council. The changes include transfers totaling $1.7 million from the Special Assessment Revolving Fund to the general fund. The revolving fund used to create special assessment districts is rarely used and has accumulated about $10 million.

“In the two weeks since I introduced my budget plan, the City’s budget landscape has been altered,” Beutler said. “As Mayor, it is my responsibility to adapt our City’s budget plan to accommodate those changes. These changes better reflect the Lincoln we want to be.”

Two changes result from last week’s proposal by the Lincoln Electric System for a 12 percent rate increase:

  • The Mayor proposes using about $1.5 million from the special assessment fund to replace the revenue that would have come from a one-cent increase in the City’s property tax rate. The Mayor withdrew the proposed tax rate increase last week. “I became concerned that Lincoln families could not sustain an electricity rate increase of that amount and the proposed City revenue increase,” Beutler said. “I remain disappointed that we must resort to one-time funds to balance the budget. However, I am even more convinced that deeper cuts will be harmful to Lincoln’s future.”
  • A second transfer of $260,000 to the general fund would cover the increased electricity expense to the City. The Mayor also will issue an Executive Order instructing departments to conserve as much electricity as possible. “My hope is that we do not have to tap the entire amount, and by adopting conservation practices, we can be both environmentally conscious and save taxpayer dollars.”

About $19,000 from the special assessment fund would be used to preserve hours at library branches. Another $23,000 would be used to preserve staffing for a program serving people with head traumas and mental health issues. The program will be relocated from the Easterday Recreation Center to the Auld Recreation Center.

The Mayor’s budget resolution also includes the transfer of $6.4 million from the special assessment fund to the proposed Fast Forward Trust Fund. Beutler said the creation of the fund will allow the City to take advantage of economic development efforts. He said initial uses would include a $235,000 impact fee rebate that is owed to ITI and about $200,000 to help start the Development Services Center, a one-stop shop for the review, permitting and inspection of development projects. These and other transfers from the Fast Forward Trust would require consent of both the Mayor and the City Council.

The City Council will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, July 21 to identify and vote on tentative changes to the Mayor’s recommended budget. The public hearing on the budget is from 2:30 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Monday, August 11. The Council votes on final changes to the Mayor’s budget at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 13 and adopts the budget at 5:30 p.m. Monday, August 25. All meetings are in the City Council Chambers, first floor of the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th St. They will be aired on 5 CITY-TV, the government access cable channel.

More information on the City budget is available at lincoln.ne.gov.


Mayor's Office    Media Releases