[AUG. 10, 2005] Lincoln city officials put in a full night in
chambers Tuesday. There were several visitors to address the council
and new business to discuss.
First to speak was Lincoln Christian College and Seminary President
Keith Ray. Dr. Ray wished to apprise the council of the expansion
plans the college has developed and to ask that the city would once
again support issuing municipal bonds for the college. The request
is in the amount of $7.9 million in tax-exempt municipal bonds.
Ray had project manager Ed Plumier and bond counsel Sam Witzig of
Springfield with him. They said that the bank has already approved
the bonds and there is no liability to the city.
The colleges are at an all-time high enrollment of 1,300, and
that figure is expected to go to 1,500 in the next two to three
years, Ray said. The expansion primarily addresses dormitory and
classroom needs to meet the increases.
The new expansion plan, titled "Rebuild, retool, rewire,"
includes building a new $6.2 million, state-of-the-art, 300-capacity
women's dormitory. Other dormitories will be upgraded with air
conditioning and made to meet ADA requirements, at a cost of
A 20,000-square-foot addition will be made to the Laughlin
Athletic Center. It can be used for soccer and other field sports
and will cost $400,000.
The plan also includes increasing cafeteria space and the
renovation of the old Henderson Hall dining area.
In addition to the expansion work, the college has other
renovation work scheduled that is not part of the bond request.
Those plans include work in the chapel.
Alderman Wanda Lee Rohlfs asked if the college expects any change
Ray said there would not be a change in philosophy, but there are
some possible course offerings under consideration that could lead
to other degrees. They are in communications, computer science,
marketing and accounting.
A doctoral program is slated to begin in the graduate school in
Mayor Beth Davis and finance chairman Verl Prather both expressed
support to issue the bonds. Davis said, "You've done great things
out there and we appreciate what you do." Prather said that it is
like what has been done with them before, and it has gone all right.
The owners of both Lincoln taxi companies came before the council
to request a rate increase, and they wanted it to become effective
Michelle Squaire of American Cab and Brian Rankin of Lincoln Land
Taxi said that the fares are not keeping up with the costs of
Squaire excused her delay in coming to the council in that she
has just had a baby and that has taken her time. She came prepared
with statistics and other information on what taxis in other
communities are charging. She made a recommendation for what she
thought could be reasonable and in line with other communities'
rates and a recommendation to simplify the fee structure.
She proposed a two-tier rate, rather than four zones, with rates
of $6 in town and $7 beyond the Business 55 loop. She would also
like to see $1.50 additions for every five minutes of waiting and $1
for each additional child. If you've ridden in a vehicle full of
children, you can appreciate paying drivers for that, she said.
City attorney Bill Bates said that the changes they are
requesting would take months to complete.
Squaire asked what they could do quickly. Rankin added that if it
takes that long, you won't have any taxis available for the
Alderman Marty Neitzel said that the committee would call a
meeting to work on it and get back to them as soon as possible.
Mayor Davis assured the cab company owners that the council will
do all they can to help them as soon as possible.