On Tuesday, Lincoln City Councilwoman Cyndi Lamm submitted ideas for changes to the Mayor’s proposed city budget. The changes included a call for reducing the city tax rate by half a cent to reduce property tax burden to home and business owners.
“Increased revenues generated from upward valuations in homes and businesses this past 2 years provide the city with funds sufficient to lower the tax rate and still provide services for our residents,” stated Lamm in a news release to KFOR News.
“We are in a unique position because of the increased property valuations to lower our tax rate just like the Lincoln Public Schools and Lancaster County Board have, if we simply work together and consider proper priorities that keep the taxpayer’s bottom line in mind,” Lamm says.
Lamm’s proposal suggests that the reduction could be accomplished by a combination of actions that include:
Eliminating raises in 2019-2020 designated for the Mayor’s appointees who received what have been referred to as “hidden” or “secret” raises in 2017 greater than 3%
Limiting proposed hiring of new property tax funded employees to those serving the city in police, fire, and transportation
Having any department except Police and Fire, whose proposed budget exceeds 4% spending increase submit changes to reduce its budget to no greater than 4% growth;
Selling Pershing Auditorium to save the city $100,000 in annual maintenance costs.
Lamm also invited the Mayor to identify and recommend alternative places where savings could provide the tax rate reduction.
In addition to requesting changes to reduce property taxes, Lamm’s email to the Mayor included proposals by she and other members to redirect $7.2 million in 2019/2020 and $5-7 million per year thereafter that is currently budgeted for the 14th & Warlick project to roads projects throughout the city for the next 5 years, and to limit each of the proposed 50-70 fee increases to no more than 3% more than current fee charges.
“We are told that the city will grow by 4%, yet the proposed budget grows spending by nearly 6%. That is not sustainable, it is not fiscally responsible, and we are in a position to limit spending beyond our growth. We should do exactly that.”