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2008 Media Releases


Date:
August 9, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Rick Hoppe, Mayor’s Office, 430-2505, 610-2720


BUDGET COMPROMISE INCLUDES PLAN TO MAINTAIN MID-DAY BUS SERVICE

Mayor Chris Beutler and City Council members today announced that compromises have been reached on several budget issues in advance of the public hearing Monday, August 11. They include a plan to maintain mid-day service on StarTran, the City’s bus system.

“I want to thank John Spatz, Doug Emery and Ken Svoboda for their hard work on behalf of StarTran patrons,” Beutler said. “We’ve heard a great deal of concern about the difficulties cuts in mid-day service would create for workers, families and students. The Council members listened to those concerns and came up with a solution. I am proud to support their proposed compromise.”

“This is a winning solution for all involved,” said Spatz. “We protected StarTran without creating a greater fiscal burden for the taxpayers.”

“People count on the mid-day bus for medical appointments, child care and school,” Emery said. “Restoring mid-day services helps our families and gives them one less worry.”

Under the compromise, StarTran would receive $150,000 from the Special Assessment Revolving Fund and would make about $150,000 in cuts (two bus drivers). An additional $380,000 in revenue would include these proposed fare changes:

  • Fares would increase $10 for the 31-day pass ($35 to $45) and the 20-ride pass ($23 to $33). The cost of HandiVan passes also would increase. Impact - $101,000.
  • The fare for the Big Red Express would be kept at $4 each way. The fare was to be reduced to $1.25. Impact - $100,000.
  • Ride for Five would be changed to Ride for Seven-Fifty (31-day pass for $7.50). The proposal to increase the eligibility to 200 percent of poverty is retained. Impact - $45,000.
  • The cash fare would be increased from $1.25 to $1.75. Impact - $73,000.
  • The Star Shuttle would cost 25 cents instead of being free. Impact - $14,000.
  • The Ride to Shop program would be eliminated. Impact - $1,000 loss.

The compromises include the addition of two 911 operators, rather than the three police officers originally proposed by Svoboda. “The 911 system is the key to quick response in emergencies,” he said. “As the City has grown and budgets have been cut, we need to make sure our 911 center has the resources it needs. While we need additional police officers for future growth, the two 911 operators are needed immediately to help keep the public safe.”

An agreement also was reached to cut a street sweeper and a dump truck to provide additional funding for sidewalk repair. This concept originated when Svoboda and Spatz suggested the City could delay the purchase of vehicles, and Council member Jonathan Cook pointed out that sidewalk repair was needed for neighborhoods.

Beutler praised Jon Camp, Robin Eschliman, Dan Marvin and the entire City Council, saying, “I appreciated the Council’s constructive approach and effort to work with my administration on the budget. We compromised and found solutions. Cooperation between the Mayor and the Council is a positive development for the entire community.”

The public hearing on the budget is from 2:30 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Monday. 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