Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that a neighborhood representative would be one of the two co-chairs of the citizens' oversight committee if the quarter-cent sales tax is passed by voters April 9. He also assured residents that neighborhood street repair would be the primary focus of proceeds from the quarter-cent sales tax. Beutler's statements were in response to recent news stories regarding representation on the committee.
"The decision on how to best invest streets dollars must be made by a committee that represents the entire City, working together with the new Mayor and City Council," Beutler said. "If the measure passes, I would appoint two co-chairs, one affiliated with our neighborhood associations and one representing our business community. Remember that business people go home to their neighborhoods every night and neighborhood leaders want a strong economy and good jobs."
Beutler said it's his goal that the oversight committee represents all parts of the community. "If voters say yes to the quarter-cent sales tax measure, I want an oversight committee that represents all quadrants of the City," he said. "We need a variety of people with different backgrounds and views. And we need to strike the right balance between businesses and neighborhoods. Diverse representation will help us create a fair and equitable plan to fix our streets." He said it would be premature to formally appoint specific individuals before the vote.
Beutler said maintenance and repair of existing streets is already prioritized in two documents — the six-year Capital Improvement Program, which was approved as part of the 2018-2020 biennial budget, and the Transportation Improvement Program. Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU) has been mapping out a proposal for how additional funds would be invested on neighborhood streets.
"For the first two years, our plan would be to spend at least 70 percent of the dollars on neighborhood street repair," Beutler said. "LTU plans to hold open houses across the City so residents can help inform the City of the streets they want prioritized. After the first two years, we would evaluate our success and determine the next steps, but neighborhood streets would continue to be the priority."
For more information on the ballot issue, visit lincolnonthemove.com.