LINCOLN–(KFOR June 10)–Increased investments in water needs, street and parks improvements are part of the cultivating the quality-of-life capital in the proposed 2024 to 2026 Lincoln City tax-funded budget from Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, which was presented Monday afternoon to the Lincoln City Council.

The mayor told council members the $575.5-million budget continues to deliver exceptional city services while further enhancing the quality of life for Lincolnites. It would be a $31-million total increase over the previous two-year plan.

“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,” Mayor Gaylor Baird said.

The mayor highlighted that part-one crime in Lincoln is at a 20-year low, but she emphasized that public safety continues to be a top priority.  That would include increasing funding for police and fire pensions.  Some estimates indicate the city’s contribution would be up 30% in year-one.  The budget includes 18 new firefighters and paramedics funded by a SAFER grant and one grant-funded Lincoln Police community resource specialist to enhance gang prevention programs.  There will also be a continued $166,000 in funding for mental health services through partnerships, training, peer support programs and crisis response.

When it comes to infrastructure, the budget includes $50-million in the first part of the biennium for street improvements, $37.5-million in the second year.  There would be $215-million total set aside for Lincoln’s Water 2.0 project, which would create a second water source for the city from the Missouri River.  About $47.2-million would be used in year one for water capital investment and $45.3-million in year two.  Wastewater capital improvement during the first year of the budget would be $34-million and another $39-million in year two.

The budget also addresses affordable housing, where $710,000 in funding would support quality affordable housing and continues the city’s successful rental rehabilitation initiative, where over 200 additional units are expected to be improved over the two-year period.

Gaylor Baird said the significant investments in the new South Haymarket Park will support a high-quality of life for residents of downtown Lincoln, attract visitors and serve as an economic development catalyst.  Renovations would be done to seven playgrounds at city parks, along with installing inclusive playground equipment, plus maintenance and repairs to city pools.

About $1.3-million in casino revenue would help in affordable housing, parks, early childhood education, while excess money will be saved to offset declining existing keno revenue.

“The strong public-private partnership approach in Lincoln is resulting in record-setting business and development activity and strong economic growth,” Gaylor Baird said.  “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 property tax rate is still flat, according to city officials.  Valuations are expected to grow by 5% in year one of the budget, 8% in year two.

The City Council will hold a public hearing over the proposed two-year budget on August 5, with a vote scheduled to adopt the budget on August 26.  Click the link below to view the detailed Lincoln City Budget proposal.

Proposed Lincoln City Budget 2024-2026
Capital Improvement Program

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