Mayor Chris Beutler today encouraged all residents to take a new online survey as part of the City's "Taking Charge" budget initiative. The City worked with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center to create the survey, which simulates the decisions policy-makers face in developing the 2011-2012 budget. The survey at lincoln.ne.gov will be available through Wednesday, June 15.
"What I learned in developing my first four budgets is that a high measure of public consensus is essential," Beutler said. "People need to understand the choices we face and be part of the solution. We needs everyone at the decision-making table. To move forward on a vision of Lincoln's future, we need consensus on what City services we want, what we can do without and what we are willing to pay."
Those who take the survey will make funding decisions on nine current City programs that cost about $3.5 million to maintain in the upcoming budget year. They are funding for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development; street tree maintenance; non-injury traffic accident reporting; a fire station; a senior citizen volunteer program; neighborhood libraries; StarTran bus routes; and neighborhood pools.
Participants will have only $750,000 to spend. Once the choices are made, the property tax impact will be automatically calculated. If they choose not to fund any programs, the annual reduction in property taxes would be $7.50 (based on a house with an assessed value of $150,000). If they choose to fund all the programs, the property taxes would go up about $27 per year.
The survey also includes an online discussion area for participants to discuss their choices with others taking the survey. Those who take the survey also will have the opportunity to sign up for a Community Conversation between City Department Directors and Managers and members of the public on Saturday, June 18th.
This is the fourth online budget survey conducted by Mayor Beutler's administration since April 2008. The City also has conducted two scientific phone surveys. More information on the Public Policy Center is available at ppc.unl.edu.