City of Lincoln
2006 Media Releases
In her annual State of the City address today, Mayor Coleen J. Seng said the positive choices made by the City over the past year are paying dividends, leading to job creation and increasing investment opportunities in Lincoln. She said increased expenses and lagging revenues present challenges, but she encouraged the City Council and citizens to support a budget that invests in the City’s future.
“We have cut costs,” said Mayor Seng. “But Lincoln families don’t stop striving for a better tomorrow when times are tough. We must build new infrastructure because that is what helps attract new jobs. We have to pay for the police and fire services that protect us. We have to provide the civic amenities that attract families and encourage businesses. That is our challenge. We have to choose to do it even when it seems difficult.”
To meet the budget challenges, Seng cut $8 million from department requests; denied new programs and employees; found savings in health insurance; cut personnel costs; and limited City hiring. She said her priority was to continue funding the programs and services that make Lincoln attractive to new employers. Because of the decline in sales tax revenue, which funds 42 percent of the budget, Seng said the City needs to rely on the recent increase in property valuations to maintain a commitment to job growth.
“The Chamber of Commerce calls this strategy the ‘growth dividend.’ We must choose to invest this dividend in the future to keep Lincoln a strong and vibrant community,” she said. “Earlier this year, the majority of the City Council told me they wanted to invest the community dividend to maintain important public services. Unfortunately, some have begun to backtrack from their earlier statements. We must set aside elections and work together on a budget that achieves goals for a bright future for Lincoln.”
Mayor Seng said her strategy for the future includes:
Seng said the City was successful this spring in securing an additional $1 million in State motor vehicle sales tax revenue for arterial streets. Other successes of the past year include streamlining the development process; designating additional industrial acres and providing infrastructure for them; building sewer lines to open up the 52-square-mile Stevens Creek watershed to development; protecting investments in new areas with floodplain standards; progress on the Antelope Valley Project; work by the Arena Task Force; reversing the blight at 48th and “O” streets; and proposing sex offender residency restrictions near schools.
“I am proud of every positive choice we’ve made,” said Mayor Seng. “As our choices about the future do become more difficult, I will continue to provide the leadership that guarantees that Lincoln always makes the choices that create prosperity and investment.”
The entire State of the City Address is available on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov and will be re-aired on the government cable access channel, 5 CITY-TV.