Lin­coln To Spon­sor Pub­lic Meet­ing On Sales Tax

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - NEWS - By Lynn Kut­ter

Lin­coln City Coun­cil will hold a pub­lic meet­ing re­gard­ing a pro­posed sales tax at 6:30 p.m. Mon­day, Oct. 15, in the com­mu­nity build­ing on Lin­coln Square.

Mayor Rob Hulse said he will dis­cuss the city’s needs and how the pro­posed tax would help meet those needs and then he will an­swer ques­tions about the pro­posal.

“For those on the fence, I will an­swer any ques­tion they have,” Hulse said.

The City Coun­cil in July voted to call a spe­cial elec­tion on Nov. 6 to ask vot­ers to ap­prove a .75 per­cent sales and use tax.

Hulse said the city is pro­mot­ing the new sales tax as a way to pro­vide a “safer and cleaner Lin­coln.”

The Coun­cil has ver­bally com­mit­ted to hir­ing two new of­fi­cers if the tax is ap­proved, with a pledge to ap­prove a res­o­lu­tion to that ef­fect at its Oc­to­ber meet­ing.

“We feel like growth is com­ing with the ac­tiv­ity we’re hav­ing and we need to be pre­pared,” Hulse said. “We need to in­crease our staffing in the po­lice de­part­ment.”

He said the po­lice de­part­ment is re­ceiv­ing 450-600 phone calls each month and this is on top of the of­fi­cers’ day to day du­ties. Lin­coln Po­lice De­part­ment has five of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing the chief’s po­si­tion.

City of­fi­cials have es­ti­mated a .75-per­cent sales tax would bring in about $170,000 per year.

Hulse said this is enough to hire two more po­lice of­fi­cers, with money left over that could be used to meet an­other pri­or­ity, clean­ing up the city.

As an ex­am­ple of clean-up costs, the city paid $45,000 to tear down the di­lap­i­dated Town House Apart­ments last month and this did not in­clude other costs, such as le­gal fees and as­bestos test­ing. The city will file a lien on the prop­erty to re­coup those costs but the City Coun­cil was warned by City At­tor­ney Steve Zega that it may not be able to re­cover any of those ex­penses.

“We need to be able to clean up our com­mu­nity,” Hulse said.

If the tax is ap­proved by vot­ers, rev­enue would go into the city’s gen­eral fund. Hulse said many peo­ple do not re­al­ize that the po­lice de­part­ment’s bud­get comes out of the gen­eral fund and he said he will talk about that at the pub­lic meet­ing.

The pub­lic is in­vited to at­tend the meet­ing to be in­formed about the pro­posal and ask any ques­tions.

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