Mayor Chris Beutler today said his recommended budget for the next biennium focuses on investments in the future of Lincoln. The Mayor's budget proposal for 2018-2020 was released today and is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: budget 20). The budget does not increase the City's property tax levy, which will remain at 31.648 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
"We are investing in the Police Officers and Firefighters who keep up safe," Mayor Beutler said. "We are investing in the innovation and infrastructure that create jobs and build our economy. And we are investing in our neighborhoods to maintain our high quality of life."
Mayor Beutler said safety and security remains the top priority of Lincoln residents, and 56 percent of the tax-funded budget will be spent on public safety. He said that percentage has increased every year of his administration. The budget includes over $3 million a year in additional funds for police and fire personnel.
Since 2015, Lincoln Fire and Rescue has seen the volume of calls increase at a rate three times that of population growth. The budget includes $2.1 million for overtime and/or staffing. About $2.3 million is included for up to five new fire engines/trucks and a new ambulance.
Other budget highlights include the following:
As part of the budget release, Mayor Beutler also announced that the Public Works and Utilities Department is changing its name to the Transportation and Utilities Department to better reflect the nature of its work.
The capital portion of the budget calls for two additional parking garages, including one in the south downtown area to support existing businesses and residents as well as future economic development projects.
"Our community is growing and changing like never before," Mayor Beutler said. "Our thriving private sector is a national leader in innovation. Our economy is strong, and our unemployment rate is low. Our young people are choosing to stay in Lincoln to start careers and families. Our high quality of life and low crime rate make Lincoln an attractive place to raise kids. We are adding 3,700 residents a year as more and more people take advantage of the phenomenal opportunities that Lincoln offers. Our blueprint for the community is working. We need to keep Lincoln growing, and the 2018-20 budget we are presenting to Council does just that."
As part of this year's budget release, the City has also posted a seven-minute budget video. The video was produced by LNKTV in conjunction with The Bay, which recently merged with Hear Nebraska to form Rabble Mill. More information is available at rabblemill.org.
The total number of City employee full time equivalents (FTEs) will increase by 14.38 in the proposed budget. Since the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the total City workforce has dropped by 28.56 FTEs despite City growth. The total tax-funded budget is increasing from $184 million in the current fiscal year to $205 million in 2018-2019 and to $212 million in 2019-2020. The City Council's public hearing on the budget is Monday, July 30, and the Council is scheduled to adopt the budget August 20.