Lincoln To Sponsor Public Meeting On Sales Tax
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.