Council Resolves “No Extra Spending”

City Councilman Roy Christensen

The Lincoln City Council has approved a resolution to shield property owners from the effect of the county wide revaluation. Councilman Roy Christensen introduced the resolution, saying the budget is already approved for the next 2 years, so there’s no reason to accept the additional revenue that would be generated by an increase in valuations. Council members voted 6-1 to approve a non-binding resolution aimed at stating an intention to adjust the mill levy so no extra property taxes are collected.

Councilman Jayne Raybould tried to delay the resolution for two weeks, saying not all the numbers are in yet from the revaluation. Her motion was defeated on a 6-1 vote. Several members said there was no reason for delay, since the resolution states the intention to avoid new spending, leaving no reason to wait for the final revaluation numbers.

Rick Hoppe, Mayor Chris Beutler’s Chief of Staff told the Council he believes it’s important to leave room in the resolution to raise the revenue to meet unexpected expenses, such as the State of Nebraska’s recent increase in the estimated cost of the planned South Beltway. Hoppe said The City is contractually obligated to pay 20% of the Beltway’s cost regardless of the final figure.

Hoppe also suggested the Council be careful about putting restrictions on taxing new growth in the City. He said it’s also important that taxpayers not expect large reductions in their property tax bills, since City spending represents only 16% of local property tax collections.

Christensen pointed out that his measure leaves “wiggle room” for emergencies, and that it’s non-binding, leaving room for changes if needed. He said it’s a statement of intention to taxpayers to shield them from the effects of the county-wide revaluation.

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