City Of Lin­coln To Hire Of­fi­cers If Tax Passes

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

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.”

Rob Hulse

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.

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