Tuesday, August 05, 2008
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City briefs: Taxes and sewers top discussions

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[August 05, 2008]  The Lincoln City Council met to conduct business on Monday evening. Two aldermen were absent, David Armbrust and Melody Anderson. Ward 2 Alderman Benny Huskins' seat remains vacated since his retirement on July 15. The remaining seven aldermen and Mayor Beth Davis-Kavelman were all present. Sitting in for city attorney Bill Bates was Blinn Bates.

City's real estate taxes hot topic to some residents

Alderman Buzz Busby said that since real estate taxes were paid around July 1, "I have heard from 25 to 30, or probably more. Citizens approach me and say, 'City taxes are too high.'"

Busby said that he had already taken the time before he was approached -- he normally does this -- to break the figures down and see if our taxes really did go up.

He said that he likes taking a round figure, say $3,000 of taxes paid. Of this amount, the city would get $378.90. Of that amount, $188.31 would go to state-mandated pension funds, leaving $190.59 for the city to use.

The county would get $269.10. Of that amount, $70.18 would go to county pensions, leaving $198.92 for the county to use. What's left to use after pensions is more than what the city has to use.

The Lincoln Park District gets $256.20: $18.51 for pensions and $237.69 for actual use. That's $50 more than the city gets for use, Busby said.

Heartland Community College was increased almost 14 percent.

School districts get 58.85 percent.

"So, when people say the city taxes are high, I doubt it. I don't want to raise taxes, but we are in dire need. And, I'm not asking to raise taxes," Busby said.

He doubted raising taxes was even a possibility, as he believed the city to be at the maximum levy.

The mayor thanked Busby, saying she agreed. "I think people don't know or realize where their tax dollars are going," she said.

City could clean state sewer

A request from a state agency to jet a sewer line was bandied about once again. The request, made by a Mr. Short on behalf of the prison south of Lincoln, was tabled two weeks ago. Last week it was discussed that the city has set new policy since a prior time when the request was last made and granted, about three years ago.

The current policy was made to protect the city from liability for damage either to the private portion of a sewer line, or if there would be backups into the basement of the property worked on, and also to protect the city's investment in equipment. This policy affects private residences and businesses.

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However, the mayor said that she thinks it is important to maintain relationships with other government agencies whenever possible. There could be quid pro quo in services. She checked with city attorney Bill Bates and he confirmed that an intergovernmental agreement could be created that would allow the work to be done.

Alderwoman Wanda Lee Rohlfs asked if the agreement would make it so that "it would not be on the back of the city," and it was confirmed that an agreement of this sort would relieve the city of any liability.

Special two-day event at the races approved for October

On Oct. 10 and 11, a Friday and Saturday, the Lincoln Speedway is planning a big event.

Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs said that the promoters are saying the event could bring 5,000 people to town. This would be good for our businesses, Tibbs said. It would bring a whole lot of people to camp, stay in local motels, eat out and shop, she said.

Race curfews were set for this year for Saturdays and Sundays. The council placed an 11 p.m. curfew on the Friday race to match the Saturday curfew.


Alderwoman Marty Neitzel recognized a visitor, Camille Springer of Chestnut Health Systems. Neitzel said that Springer has been serving the community with her on the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Task Force.

New cable programming

A communication from Comcast was read. As a utility serving residents of the city of Lincoln, the cable company Comcast is subject to city regulation and has agreed to communicate changes. Beginning in August, the business plans to offer a full lineup of 400 Big Ten events. Another program for families, "High on Life," featuring positive lifestyles, also would begin later in August.



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