Mayor’s Budget Cultivates Lincoln Residents’ Quality of Life

Published on June 10, 2024

Proposed plan includes increased investments in water, streets, and parks

Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird’s proposed City budget for the 2024-2026 fiscal years builds on the robust foundation of effective service delivery established by the City over the past five years, while providing important new investments to deliver the highest quality of life for residents. 

“The proposed 2024-2026 biennial budget continues to deliver exceptional City services while further enhancing the quality of life for all in Lincoln,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said. “Our budget makes sound, strategic investments designed to grow new economic opportunities, advance our goal of making Lincoln the safest and healthiest capital city, and support strong neighborhoods and an even more dynamic downtown for residents and visitors.”

The tax-funded budget investment for year one of the biennial budget is $282,396,723
and the tax-funded budget investment for year two is $293,232,747. The property tax rate remains at the current level of 0.29533 per $100 of valuation.

In highlighting Lincoln’s already solid reputation as one of the best-run cities in America, Mayor Gaylor Baird identified the following key investments in the proposed budget, designed to cultivate a:

  • Strong and Resilient City: The budget includes a $215 million investment in infrastructure, engineering, land acquisition and more for the Water 2.0 project to secure Lincoln’s second source of water. It increases transportation funding by nearly $3 million in the first year to $49.9 million for improvements including street repair, rehabilitation, and new construction that support hundreds of millions of dollars in private investments and developments across the city.
  • Safe and Healthy City: The budget funds police and fire contracts that include pay raises for first responders, supporting the recruitment and retention of top talent and resulting in a high level of public safety and emergency response for Lincoln residents. The budget includes 18 new firefighters and firefighter paramedics funded by a federal SAFER grant and one grant-funded Lincoln Police community resource specialist to enhance gang prevention programs.
  • Economically and Culturally Vibrant City: Significant investments in the new South Haymarket Park will support a high quality of life for downtown residents, attract outside visitors to Lincoln, and serve as an economic development catalyst. The budget also provides increased funding for parks and playground improvements across the community.
  • Equitable and Inclusive City: Affordable housing is prioritized by continuing $710,000 in funding to support quality affordable housing. This budget also continues the City’s successful rental rehabilitation initiative that supports high-quality affordable housing, with over 200 additional units expected to be improved over the two-year period.
  • Innovative and Operationally Excellent City: The budget includes funds to upgrade information technology systems to enhance cybersecurity, while also investing in software and hardware upgrades within the City fleet services to analyze and promote greater fuel savings.

Mayor Gaylor Baird said the two-year budget demonstrates how the City will continue to build upon its successes and work toward an even brighter future for Lincoln residents, even under current fiscal constraints that include caps on expenditure growth, decreases in state funding for StarTran, and increased costs. Mayor Gaylor Baird cited the City’s utilization of federal funds for important investments in new infrastructure like Water 2.0 and lead service line replacement as ways in which the City is wisely securing and deploying additional resources.

Mayor Gaylor Baird outlined what drives $21 million in additional investment in year one of the biennial budget including:

  • Public Safety
    • Lincoln Fire and Rescue contract – $3.5 million including benefits
    • Police and Fire Pension increased contribution – $2.6 million
  • City personnel salary and benefits (excluding LFR) to continue current service levels the community desires – $5.2 million
  • City Personnel 2.77 FTE new funding 
  • Star Tran lost revenue and increased costs – $2.09 million 
    • State funding cut by $656,744; UNL removed a route and reduced their funding $237,376; Increased fuel costs – $1.2 million 
  • Heavy Vehicle Equipment bundled purchase – $4.3 million
    • Additional funds budgeted in year one to order vehicles earlier that have long lead times for delivery (fire apparatus, snow trucks, pothole spray patchers, forestry section boom trucks, and others)
  • Inflation (materials, rents, utilities, fuel costs, and more) – $3 million

“The City of Lincoln works within fiscal constraints to deliver on our commitment to ongoing community priorities, while also undertaking ambitious proposals like those to secure our city’s future water supply and increase investments in infrastructure,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said. “Through these investments, we will continue to grow the great life for all in Lincoln.”

Mayor Gaylor Baird said this budget also enhances a strong commitment to customer service in partnership with community members, organizations, and businesses.

“The strong public-private partnership approach in Lincoln is resulting in record-setting business and development activity and strong economic growth,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “The resources from that growth are being reinvested in infrastructure and services that fuel our economy and help make Lincoln the quality-of-life capital of the country.”

The City Council's public hearing on the budget is Monday, August 5, and the Council is scheduled to adopt the budget August 26. For more information on the budget, visit For more information on the Capital Improvement Program, visit