Mayor Chris Beutler today announced two changes to his proposed City budget for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 fiscal years:
The Mayor presented his first biennial budget to the City Council July 9. The changes will be included in the budget resolution, the legal language the Mayor will submit later this week.
"The resolution will preserve the key tenets of my original proposal - no tax increase, no major program cuts and no inappropriate use of one-time monies that create budget gaps in future years," the Mayor said. "I strongly believe that a successful City Hall is one that listens, responds and strives to create consensus. The proposed budget changes are positive steps in that direction, but we aren't done yet. We will continue to work with the Council and the public throughout the budget process for the good of the community."
Under the new proposal, police officers would continue to investigate non-injury traffic crashes. Insurance companies and others who request the reports would be charged $15, the same fee charged by the State for accident reports. "The fee is a reasonable compromise that maintains a service but appropriately charges those who benefit from that service," Beutler said..
The Mayor said the Prairie in the Parks program has several advantages. The City saves taxpayer dollars by reducing the mowing of park areas not used heavily. And he said replacing existing grasses with native plants provides natural habitat for wildlife and restores the natural beauty of the areas.
But he said the transition has been challenging because it takes several years to establish native plants.
"Some park areas haven't looked good as weeds have competed with the native grasses," Beutler said. "Additional funding will help to better establish these areas and allow Parks to provide some limited additional mowing in areas where experience is telling us that we need to mow more frequently."
The resolution also will include a plan for additional sales tax revenue if that revenue exceeds the estimates of a four-percent increase each year. Additional funds would first be used to cover any losses the City may experience as a result of State changes taking effect January 1 for the City's telecommunications tax. Beyond that, additional funds would be directed into the Police and Fire Pension fund.
The City Council will meet at 3:30 p.m. Friday, July 20 to discuss tentative changes to the Mayor's recommended budget. The meeting is in Room 113 at the County-City Building, 555 S. 10th. Other upcoming budget meetings include the following:
These meetings will be in the City Council Chambers at the County-City Building. They will be carried live on 5 CITY-TV (government access cable channel 5) and will be available through video-on-demand at lincoln.ne.gov.
Information on the 2012-2014 City budget will be published in the Neighborhood Extra in the Lincoln Journal Star Saturday, July 28. Budget information also is available online at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: budget).