Mayor Chris Beutler and City Council members today announced a compromise on four high-profile issues - two on the budget, the addition of Council staff and the Recycle Lincoln ordinance. Beutler was joined at a news conference by Council Chair Leirion Gaylor Baird, Vice Chair Roy Christensen, Carl Eskridge, Trent Fellers, Cyndi Lamm and Jane Raybould. Jon Camp was unable to attend because he is in Washington DC for the presidential inauguration.
"Consensus among the Mayor, the City Council and the people we represent has been fundamental to Lincoln's continuing success," Beutler said. "Compromise has been the foundation of that consensus. We come together and solve challenges. I want to thank the members of the City Council and express my appreciation for their willingness to pull together as a team. We are doing the right thing for our citizens on four big issues and improving how we are dealing with one another. I have no doubt this will help us continue to find that common ground that moves Lincoln forward."
"Compromise is tough, it takes both sides working together and communicating in order to come to an agreement," said Fellers, who initiated compromise on three of the issues. "I want to thank my colleagues for working collaboratively as a group to get these items done and move the City forward."
A proposal to change the budget calendar is expected to be introduced by Gaylor Baird January 30 with public hearing in February. It includes a new annual budget review and an earlier release of the Mayor's proposed budget.
"To manage our growing City effectively, we need to be incredibly strategic and thoughtful about the way we allocate our limited financial resources," Gaylor Baird said. "I want to thank my Council colleagues and City and County staff for working with me to develop this legislation. I'm pleased with the consensus we've reached around these changes to the budget process, and I'm optimistic that they will allow the Council to serve more thoughtfully and effectively the citizens of our growing and dynamic City."
The other three items will be introduced to the City Council January 23, with public hearings scheduled for January 30:
On the issue of a Mayoral veto of a Council-approved budget, a resolution will be introduced asking the Charter Revision Commission to examine the process.
"It is clear that the budget process is important to Lincoln residents," Lamm said. "As part of this collaboration, we are including a directive to the Charter Revision Commission that invites further discussion on the process itself. I am pleased to work with my colleagues and the Mayor's Office to address all of these important issues."
"Modifying our Charter is a BIG deal," Raybould said. "The independent Commission can help ensure that any proposed charter amendment is in the best interest of the community. This 'best practice' of governance of utilizing the citizen group to review any changes to our constitution has made our legislative branch stronger, our community better and our citizens engaged and watchful. We are grateful to this group in their willingness to serve."
"Today is a good day for the City Council, Mayor Beutler and, most importantly, for the citizens of Lincoln," Eskridge said. "Negotiating a compromise on important issues is hard work but crucial to good governance. Thank you to my colleagues, to the Mayor's office and to others involved for your important work."
Mayor Beutler said Camp is also working closely with his office and fellow Council members on all the proposals.