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July 11, 2011


What you need to know about the mayor’s budget proposal

by Deena Winter

A lot has already been written about Mayor Chris Beutler’s proposed budget, but I think what you most need to know is that Beutler wants to:

• Increase the city’s property tax levy by about 10 percent (that amounts to a $42 increase for a $150,000 home).

• Eliminate the Human Rights Division, including an equal opportunity officer, and transfer two civil rights investigators to the law department.

• Double the cost of a parking ticket to $20.

• Increase the wheel tax on cars by $10 — bringing the total to $64 for cars — and increase the wheel tax every year for the next three years, for a total increase of $20.

• Decrease his investment in economic development by $200,000.

• Close a fire station in Airpark that averages one call per day.

• Kick in an additional $1.2 million in funding of the police and fire pension fund.

• Cut library hours by 10 percent, cut five upper-level librarian positions and a library supervisor. Library hours would change to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

• Reduce StarTran service by four hours on Saturdays.

• Make LES pay for street light debt service and insurance — a $4 million hit that will surely impact LES rates.

• Create a “new Municipal Services Center” that will have a revolving fund — I believe this is putting money in an account to pay for the Experian building the city is buying for new city offices.

• Set up a half-million-dollar rainy day fund.

• Add two “community resource specialists” to the Urban Development Department’s staff, at a cost of more than $112,000.

• Cut the city forester position once and for all, ending a process he began last year.

• Cut a permit assistant (who is paid $46,600), chief plans examiner ($101,000) and plans examiner ($83,000) from the Building & Safety Department.

• Cut 10 firefighters, two firefighter paramedics, an EMS management support specialist and an assistant fire chief (formerly John Huff, who is now interim fire chief).

• Cut 12.4 positions from the Public Works department — including two StarTran bus drivers and the superintendent of water pollutions control facilities, who earns $139,000.

Beutler’s budget would reduce the city payroll by 35 positions — eight to 12 of those pure layoffs.

Beutler’s spending plan would be a 2.7 percent increase in spending over current levels.

Read more from Budget
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gene
    Jul 12 2011

    A nice summary. Thanks, Deena.

  2. Scott Wendt
    Jul 12 2011

    Double the cost of a parking ticket to $20?
    Parking fines (other than the cost of enforcement) go to Lincoln Public Schools not the city.
    Has the cost of enforcement gone up since privatization?
    What percentage of the fines does the city now keep?
    Does this not cover current enforcement costs?

  3. Roberta
    Jul 13 2011

    Does it really matter what anyone says?

  4. Jane H Kinsey
    Jul 13 2011

    How about cutting the $198,000 that the police Department pays for the fancy police station in
    Uni Place that is paid to WRK? Surely we can have a station there at a cheaper price.


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