City Council makes final changes to budget

It looks like some of your voices were heard when it comes to Lincoln's budget.

On Monday, people in support of keeping the city forester job filled the council chambers and it looks like that made a difference.  They came out in support of bringing back the city forester job, which was on the chopping block and at Wednesday's meeting, Councilman Jonathan Cook introduced a measure to bring back that position using money from the SAR fund.

Cook says, “we certainly heard from the public about the importance of this position, the importance of maintaining our trees and I agree with those who testified and think this position should be restored.”

The measure passed but it won't be the exact same forester position.  The council is going to add some duties and tweak it a bit.  The person who currently holds that job can apply for it.

The SAR fund is basically one time money the city has had for a while.  With this budget, the council will be using around $3.8 million of it, leaving just $250,000.  Despite most of the council voting in favor of this, most don't like dipping into this fund.  Councilman Adam Hornung says its going to put the city in a tough position next year.  “We have to figure out a way to quit relying on one time money and if we don't do it this year, great, we'll figure out an easy way next year because there won't be any left.”

With this budget almost in the books, it's already time to talk about next years looming budget.  Council Chairman John Spatz says, “there's going to have to be some reform at the state legislature or a property tax increase or a combination of both or we're going to have to make really drastic cuts to our budget.”

The council will officially vote on this budget on August 23.