Mayor Beutler proposes $29.5 million bond issue to address publi - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Mayor Beutler proposes bond issue to address public safety

Mayor Beutler proposes $29.5 million bond issue to address public safety

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By: Lauren Fabrizi

In a moment's notice, first responders need to be ready for all kinds of emergencies. But at fire station no. 12 in southeast Lincoln, there's a few things that slow down the process.

"To be able to open up the doors and do maintenance on the rig, or to access anything inside the compartment, it's really cramped in here," Cpt. Bob Weddington said.

Inside the station, the floor is setting in and there's numerous cracks in the walls and ceiling.

"Just a building that is basically falling a part," Weddington said.

The same goes for station no. 10 in north Lincoln at 14th and Adams Streets.

Mayor Chris Beutler is well aware. That's why he's proposing a $29.5 million bond issue that would replace those two stations and relocate them, among other projects.

"We need to get public safety to more effectively respond to high growth areas," Beutler said.

The mayor said Lincoln hasn't seen new fire stations in 18 years. He said since then, the city has grown by more than 20 square miles and nearly 60,000 people.

"A new location would decrease our response time," Weddington said.

While the new locations haven't been chosen yet, officials said the new station no. 12 would be a joint fire and police facility, so LPD officers could have quicker access to their calls in southeast Lincoln.

The bond issue would also include the modernization of Lincoln's 911 system, which connects LPD, LFR, the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, UNL Police and Lincoln Public Schools.

Officials said it hasn't been replaced since 1987.

"It really is a critical need," Tom Casady, public safety director, said. "Our public safety radio community system is a very important piece of municipal infrastructure. It's at the end of its cycle."

If the city council approves the bond issue, it would be on the November 4 general election ballot. If voters pass it, homeowners would see an increase in property taxes. A person with a home valued at $150,000 would pay an extra $21 per year, for 20 years.

A public hearing on the bond issue will be held August 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the County–City Building. The city council will vote on it that night.


Posted By: KLKN

Lincoln, NE - Mayor Chris Beutler is proposing a $29.5 million bond issue to fund modernization of the City's 911 radio system and to build two new replacement fire stations.  If the City Council approves, the bond issue would be on the November 4 general election ballot.  A public hearing on the resolution is set for the August 25 City Council meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.

“These projects respond to our number one priority -- public safety -- in a cost-effective manner,” Beutler said.  “They will give our police officers and firefighters the tools and facilities needed to continue to provide quality service to the citizens of Lincoln.”  The proposed bond issue would add an estimated $21.41 a year to the property tax bill on a property valued at $150,000, beginning in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The bond issue would provide $20.5 million for a new radio system. The system was last replaced beginning in 1987, and portions are now more than 25 years old.  Many components no longer receive vendor support, and many are no longer available.  In addition to the Lincoln Police Department, Lincoln Fire and Rescue and the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office, the radio system serves the City Public Works and Utilities Department, the UNL Police Department,  Lincoln Public Schools and other agencies. 

The two new stations would replace two existing stations that are in need of extensive rehabilitation: Station 12, 84th and South streets, and Station 10, 1440 Adams Street.  The relocations would improve response times without additional staff.

“In the 18 years since a new fire station was built in Lincoln, the City has grown by about 57,000 people and more than 20 square miles,” Beutler said.  “With these two new stations, we will be able to improve our response times to growing areas in both north and south Lincoln  -- areas that are currently beyond four minutes travel time from any fire station.”

Public Safety Director Tom Casady said a fire station optimization study identified the best locations for the new stations.  One would be in north-central Lincoln, the area Casady said experiences the most life-threatening emergencies that are more than four minutes away from the closest fire station.  The second would be a joint police and fire facility in southeast Lincoln, allowing officers who serve that quadrant to deploy from within their area of assignment rather than from downtown.  Casady said the time savings is equal to almost one full-time officer.  He said a joint facility also saves on the costs of land acquisition, design, utilities and paving.

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