City Councilwomen and candidates for Mayor Cyndi Lamm and Leirion Gaylor Baird disagree on the extra tax revenue the City received because of increased property values in Lincoln.
Lamm issued a statement questioning Gaylor Baird’s recent claim that she led a bipartisan City Council effort that resulted in the largest tax rate cut in over a decade.
“I think voters are getting tired of political double speak,” said Lamm. “In 2017 Leirion had a chance to return the entire property tax windfall created by increased property valuations to the taxpayers. She had promised to do so, but then voted no. Instead she continued to use more of the taxpayer’s money for new spending.”
Lamm also said “it is about priorities and watching out for our citizens. We had a set budget and we collected more money in property taxes than we had budgeted to meet our needs. Homeowners, especially those living on a fixed income are hurting. They deserve some relief.”
In her statement, Gaylor Baird stood by the claim that she helped lower the property tax rate. She pointed to the vote in which the Council decided to keep $1 Million of the $4 Million generated by higher valuations, and lowered the levy to avoid collecting the other $3 Million. Gaylor Baird said “this year about one-fourth of the increase in the city property tax base is the result of new construction. That would not be considered a windfall under the council resolution.”
“The Council used these funds to pay for six new police officers and a fire engine, high priority public safety needs for a growing city,” said Gaylor Baird.
Earlier in the current session, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 103, a bill sponsored by Senator Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn. It requires taxing bodies such as City Councils and School Boards to automatically reduce their levies by the same amount as their valuations increase.
The bill allows the elected board of that taxing entity to raise their levy, if they vote to do so.