Mayor’s Proposed Budget Focuses on Restoration and Renewal
Published on June 13, 2021
No increase planned in property tax rate
Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said her proposed budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year invests in services, programs, and infrastructure that will fuel economic recovery and grow a thriving future for Lincoln. She said those investments can be made without increasing the property tax rate because of four factors during the past year:
- Strong management by city directors
- The hard work and commitment to quality services of city employees
- A rebounding economy, powered by difficult, but smart choices made in the 2020-21 budget
- Timely assistance from federal and state government
The Mayor will present her proposal to the City Council at 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 14.
“Last year, as we crafted the budget, we made smart and tough choices to keep the community safe and healthy as well as deal with the economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “In the face of these extraordinary challenges, we met the moment. Now, as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, this year’s budget focuses on the future – a future of restoration and renewal.”
The City adopted a two-year budget cycle in 2012, but last year, Mayor Gaylor Baird asked the City Council to take action to allow one-year budgets for 2020-21 and 2021-22 to enable city to more adequately respond to changing revenues and community needs.
Gaylor Baird said the budget reflects these five values and objectives and includes the following:
Protect the health and safety of all Lincoln families
- Additional public safety employees: five police officers and a school resource officer for the new high school; one 911 dispatcher; three firefighters, one assistant fire chief and an LFR administrative aide
- Ongoing funding for five Health Department professionals
- Continued investment to serve residents experiencing mental health concerns
Grow a vibrant city economy and quality of life
- Libraries: full service retained
- Parks: increased funding for maintenance; continued playground and hard surfacing repairs; safe reopening of recreation centers, playgrounds, and pools
- Continued contributions to the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development for business recruitment and retention, workforce development, and entrepreneurship support
- Leadership of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act services, providing job search and job training opportunities for adults, dislocated workers, and youth
- Creation of a Ticket to Work program to connect residents with disabilities to jobs
- Development of a Business Services Representative to help local businesses meet workforce needs
Create a more equitable and inclusive community
- Creation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Administrator to ensure that City Hall reflects and can meet the needs of diverse community members
- Support of affordable housing by removing barriers for quality infill housing, expanding the areas eligible for $5,000 tax credit to first-time homebuyers, and creating a rental rehab program
- Housing and utilities assistance
- Enhanced Aging Partners’ services, including support for the Victory Park project and continuation of the NeighborLNK program
Build a strong and resilient Lincoln
- Investments in street repair, rehabilitation, and construction
- Funding a Transit Development Plan and the purchase of four alternative-fueled paratransit vehicles
- Support for bike lanes, markings, and trails and doubling funding for the sidewalk program
- Investments in water infrastructure, including meter and main replacements, wellfield repairs, and preparations to secure a new source of water supply
- Continued investments in Emerald Ash Borer treatment and recovery
Foster innovative and excellent City operations
- Enhanced cybersecurity
- Support for teleworking capabilities and operational efficiencies and standards
- Updates and expansion of digital communications and information systems
The city's property tax levy will remain at 31.980 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. That equates to $576 in City property tax for the owner of a $180,000 home. Out of every property tax dollar the City's share is about 16 cents. The total tax-funded budget is increasing from $210.95 million in the current fiscal year to $224.5 million in 2021-2021.
The number of city employees has increased only 13.5 FTEs from 2,245.5 FTEs in 2005-2006 to 2,259 FTEs in 2021-22, despite Lincoln adding more than 45,000 residents during that time.
The City Council's public hearing on the budget is Monday, August 3, and the Council is scheduled to adopt the budget August 24. More information on the City budget is available at finance.lincoln.ne.gov.