City officials say they'll be closer this year to that ultimate budget utopia than they have been in many years. Still, there were some who think improvements can be made before the final vote.
It could be the perfect budget proposal. No tax increases, no swimming pool or library cuts. The city will even start cutting the tall grass at some parks that are near people's homes.
Unlike in years past, very few people were even at the Monday meeting to speak in favor or against it. Until, that is, the Lincoln Independent Business Association stepped in. They say the Mayor is simply trying to portray the good guy, after never even intending to cut police officers like originally proposed.
"Cuts were never even intended, they were meant to soften the blow for other fee increases," said Coby Mach with LIBA.
Those fees include an increase in the city wheel tax, double the charge at a parking meter downtown from $0.50 to $1.00, and charges from the Fire Department on certain calls including the use of the jaws of life.
However, one fee that will go down is the StarTran service. "We have never used scare tactics. We've always resulted in compromise through this process," said Mayor Beutler.
LIBA also suggests the five percent over-all increase in this biennial budget is too much after the hard years the city is still recovering from. "We should focus on lowering those high property taxes we were given or lowering some of those fees," said Mach.
"I think everybody is generally pleased. Frankly speaking, most of the places where hard decisions are being made are not so much budget solutions as ongoing reform solutions," said Mayor Beutler.
The City Council is expected to approve the budget this Wednesday with the final vote August 20th.
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