Council members argue over city budget

Some on the Lincoln City Council say this is the worst budget they've have to deal with.  An informal discussion got heated as members gave their two cents about what they want protected or funded.

Friday's informal discussion was a way for council members to throw out ideas on the table on how to save programs and cut cost.  One of the mayor's proposals that will most likely stick around is increasing the wheel tax. Councilman Gene Carroll says, “I think the wheel tax is correct because it's like a user fee and you're using our roads and it's going to pay for fixing them.”

The notion of higher taxes quickly started the blame game.  Why is the city $9.3 million in the red?  Councilwoman Jayne Snyder pointed to members Jonathan Cook and Jon Camp.  She told them, “At some point, some of the mistakes we've made in the past have been done by you two.”

Camp he's offered ways to save the city money for 13 years and no one listened.  He says, “There are ways to save a lot, but do you want to listen?  Or is it just 'boom! Let's go ahead and do this 10.7% property tax increase, all the wheel tax and the street lights.'”

One example camp gave is to widen Old Cheney Road without right turn lanes in the median.  That's one million dollars the city can bank and would eliminate the need for a wheel tax increase.  Camp says, “We've increased fees everywhere.  We've increased impact taxes.  It's startling how much we've gone on and we still can't live with our means.”

Camp has voted against 10 budgets already and is prepared to do it again this year.

One thing all council members agree on is that Fire Station 11 will be saved this year.

The council has yet to release details on how they wish to fund it or any other program.  That will be worked out Monday evening.