Lincoln City Council member Cyndi Lamm says two recent city budgets were increased incorrectly. Lamm says the 2012-13 and 2013-14 budgets both were increased by amounts higher than the State lid without the proper City Council Vote. Lamm says State Law requires a three-fourths vote of the City Council in order to increase a tax supported budget. In Lincoln’s case, she says, 6 of the 7 members would have to vote in favor but only 5 did.
“There have been at least two occasions where Mayor Beutler and his staff have improperly informed State officials that the City budget could exceed the statutory growth rate even though the measure did not receive enough votes” Lamm said.
She also charged that the Mayor and his staff have refused to correct the error after she called it to their attention.
“I have been trying for weeks to get the administration to correct these illegally reported votes” she said, “but the administration has refused to do anything.”
Lamm said “Because of this error, and because of the City’s rapid budget growth, Lincoln taxpayers have not been afforded the full protection of State Law and are now backed into a corner.”
Mayor Chris Beutler, responding in a Wednesday night News Conference, said the levy overrides in 2012 and 13 were done properly. And, that the city has received confirmation of that from the State Auditor. He said the real issue is that Council Woman Lamm wants to stop the city from growing. He said other growing cities, such as Omaha, Bellevue and Kearney have routinely passed levy overrides in recent years, but Lincoln has not. He said he will introduce a resolution before the council, in the coming month, to seek consensus on a 3 and a half percent increase in the next two year budget, since the budget cycle starts anew right after the first of the year.