City Of Lincoln To Hire Officers If Tax Passes
LINCOLN — Lincoln City Council committed to hire two new police officers if a .75 percent sales tax is approved by voters on Nov. 6.
The Council last week directed City Attorney Steve Zega to draw up a resolution that says the Council will use revenue from a new sales tax for new officers. Currently, Lincoln has five officers: police chief, assistant chief and three patrol officers.
“We’re serious about this,” said Mayor Rob Hulse. “If it passes, (Chief) Brian Key will advertise the new positions.”
The resolution showing the Council’s intent to commit money for the police department will be on the Council’s Oct. 16 agenda.
The Council voted at its July meeting to call a special election on Nov. 6 to ask voters to approve a .75 percent sales and use tax that would go into the city’s general fund. The police department’s budget comes out of the general fund.
City officials estimate the new tax would bring in about $170,000 per year, more than enough to hire two police officers.
“Our intention is to put two police officers on the street,” Hulse said at the Sept. 18 Council meeting.
Hulse asked Council members to encourage citizens to support the sales tax question.
“It’s the fairest tax you will have and it will make a difference,” Hulse said. “I guarantee we need it and we need it to move forward.”
The city currently collects a 2 percent sales tax rate but revenue is dedicated for specific purposes. Of this, 1 percent goes to capital improvements and 1 percent is divided between the public library
“Our intention is to put two police officers on the street.”
Mayor, City of Lincoln
(80 percent) and parks and recreation (20 percent), with part of this being used to pay off the library construction loan.
In other action last week, the Council gave the go-ahead to take care of a pest problem in the Water Department building.
City Business Manager Rhonda Hulse said the building has problems with snakes, rodents and spiders.
“We hear things running in our ceiling everyday,” Hulse told Council members.
She offered to walk over to the department and use a flashlight so Council members could go up into the attic and see the problems.
Council member Bobby McDonald told her, “We’ll take your word for it. We don’t have to see snakes.”
Rob Hulse warned it would not be a $300 fix but the Council told Hulse she could get bids to take care of the problems.
The Council approved a request to purchase new Samsung tables for each Council member for $50 each. Rhonda Hulse also recommended adding data to the tablets to help with communication. The data would cost about $260 per month but that would be offset by savings in the city’s phone plan, Rhonda Hulse said.
“I need everyone to have access to their emails,” Rhonda Hulse told the Council. “Email is the best way to communicate with you.”
She said she also is looking at costs of a microphone system to help with sound during Council meetings.
The Council tabled an ordinance providing for safety standards for private pools in the city limits. The draft ordinance says an above-ground pool with a sidewall height of at least 36 inches must have a detachable ladder and that all points of access to a pool must be enclosed by a fence with a locking gate. In-ground pools must be enclosed by a fence with a self-closing gate and secured by a lock.
Rhonda Hulse reported on a request by the Council to see if treated water from the wastewater treatment plant can be a non-potable water reuse. A study by McClelland Consulting Engineers indicates this can be done on 350,000 gallons of treated wastewater for chlorine dilution and conveyance water.
Costs would be $50,000 for equipment plus engineering costs and within six years the city should break even and start saving about $10,000 per year on water use.
No action was taken on the report.