Mayor Chris Beutler said today the actions of the State Legislature in the recent special session will have an impact on City services to residents. The City will see close to a 4-percent decrease in State aid to municipalities over two years as well as likely reductions in grants from State agencies.
In a letter written to Governor Dave Heineman prior to the special session, Beutler reminded him of the importance of State funds in maintaining crucial City services, such as police and 911 service.
We were pleased the Governor responded by refraining from major cuts to public safety, but the City and its residents will feel the sting of budget cuts in the upcoming two years in a variety of ways," Beutler said. "These cuts come at a difficult time for the City of Lincoln, as we have pared the City budget and reduced our workforce by more than 140 positions in the last three years. With our exceptionally lean City government, State cuts will directly affect services to residents.
The Unicameral cut $883,290 from State aid over two years, resulting in likely cuts to of Lincoln of $49,427 in the current fiscal year and $98,854 in fiscal year 2010-2011. State agencies have been directed to reduce spending by 2.5 percent this fiscal year and 5 percent in fiscal year 2010-2011. The impact of these across-the-board reductions won't be known until January 10 when agencies will report their plans to the Legislature. The Mayor said City staff will actively work with State agency administrators as the decisions are made.
Many of our ongoing City programs use matching State funds, and Lincoln could see key City services directly impacted," Beutler said. " The domino effect of these decisions on continuing federal funding or complying with mandates is very real. Our goal is to acknowledge the need for shared sacrifice, but to bring home with administrators the vital importance of our shared public infrastructure, health and safety programs and our priorities at the local level.
Beutler said he was pleased the Unicameral limited a proposed $5 million transfer from the Enhanced Wireless 911 Fund to $3.4 million. The fund's purpose is to provide relief to the local providers of 911 service to compensate for the loss of traditional 911 funding from land line use and the increased demand on 911 because of the rise in cell phone use. Beutler said the larger transfer would have directly impacted emergency 911 service in the community.