Lincoln residents continue to rank safety and security as their top priority, and they want more resources devoted to efficient transportation. Those are some of the findings from the latest Taking Charge online survey conducted this summer. Mayor Chris Beutler today released the results of the survey, which gave the public the opportunity to share their ideas on City programs and spending.
Over 1,100 people participated in the survey, which asked them to rank the City's eight outcome areas. They were then asked to evaluate the City's success in achieving the goals in each outcome area and to indicate if spending should increase or decrease in each area.
"There has been a clear shift in priorities since the last time we surveyed the public," Beutler said. "Safety and security remains the top concern among residents, both in terms of importance and in terms of spending prioritization. But economic opportunity is not as compelling a concern for people surveyed today as it was in 2008. That is to be expected. Lincoln's economy is doing very well. We are routinely cited by national publications for low unemployment, a strong local economy and a business friendly climate. As a consequence, anxiety over jobs and family seems to be residing."
The Mayor said one of the biggest shifts in attitudes involves streets and infrastructure. Following are the outcome areas listing in the order of spending priorities:
This survey is being followed by a public Community Conversation the morning of Saturday, October 19 at the County-City Building, 555 South 10th Street. The Community Conversation will be preceded by an informational meeting October 8, which will be available on 5 CITY-TV, the government access cable channel. Beutler said participants will discuss steps the City can take to make greater progress in the top two spending priority areas - safety and security and efficient transportation.
For the safety and security outcome area, participants will discuss hiring more police officers, relocating fire stations to speed emergency response and increasing focus on after-school programs. For the efficient transportation outcome area, they will discuss building new roads, improving traffic signal coordination, improving bus service and increasing sidewalk repair.
"Our hope is that a strategic consensus emerges which allows us to begin identifying financial resources, creating more specific program proposals and determining next steps," Beutler said. "We will then turn these citizen-driven recommendations into budget requests that can evaluated for their impact alongside current programs as we put together the 2014-2016 City budget.
Those interested in participating in the Community Conversation are asked to sign up online at lincoln.ne.gov (Taking Charge link) or to contact the Mayor's Office at 402-441-7511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mayor thanked the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, which has partnered with the City on the Taking Charge process since 2008.
Survey results and more information on the Taking Charge process are available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: taking charge). More information on the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center is available at ppc.nebraska.edu.