Year-end amendments to the City's 2014-2016 budget will be considered by the City Council on first reading at its meeting Monday, August 17. The City is in the middle of its two-year biennium, and the Council considers technical transfers and other adjustments at this time. Three amendments would replace aging fire apparatus, increase funding to the Police-Fire Pension Fund and add a maintenance project at the Municipal Service Center (MSC) to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The public hearing on the amendments is Monday, August 24. The Council meets at 3 p.m. Mondays at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th Street.
The resolution calls for using $2.8 million to replace six of Lincoln Fire and Rescue's 18 front line apparatus. The revenue would come from the following sources:
"Because of budget constraints in previous years, we have not been able to replace our fire apparatus on a regular basis," said Mayor Chris Beutler. "The result is aging equipment that is costing us hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance. These funds would allow us to begin a regular replacement schedule, with the purchase of two ladder trucks and up to four fire engines this year."
The resolution calls for adding $900,000 to the Police Fire Pension Fund by transferring a portion of Police funds remaining at the end of the budget year. A separate item on the City Council agenda would amend a contract agreement between the Bridge Behavioral Health and the City to provide another $200,000 in reappropriated Police funds for the renovation of the Bridge's facility at 721 "K" Street. Providing alcohol detox services for the City is one of the programs provided by The Bridge.
A third amendment would add replacement of the roof and heating and air conditioning equipment at the MSC to the CIP. Additional City Council action would be needed to fund the project, estimated to cost about $2.5 million. The City purchased the MSC in 2010 to promote the consolidation of City services, to increase efficiency and to save the City money over the long-term by owning rather than renting facilities.
"The MSC has allowed us to become more efficient by consolidating our fleet and services into a single center with the capacity to support City operations for decades into the future," said Miki Esposito, Director of the Public Works and Utilities Department. "With low interest rates, this is the perfect time to address maintenance needs by installing new roofs and heating and cooling equipment."
Mayor Beutler said relocating City operations that were in the West Haymarket to the MSC has also helped the area develop into Lincoln's premier entertainment and tech job district. "Not only have we improved City operations, but we've spurred exciting new private development," Beutler said. "We've gone from snow plows and piles of rock salt to private business offices and space for the new Breslow Ice Center. That's a win for Lincoln residents on both the long-term budget and community growth."