Mayor Beutler Presents Proposed Biennial Budget to Council Members

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Mayor Chris Beutler presented his proposed budget for the 2014-2016 biennium to council members for the first time Monday afternoon.

The tax-funded $339 million proposal has some council members optimistic.

"I am pleased to see funding for some of our infrastructure needs in particular the sidewalks funding that will be increased according to this proposal," said Councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird. "As well as roads and parks maintenance needs."

But not everyone was sold on how much money is going toward Parks and Recreation.

"It's not that we don't need some of those or desire some of those elements like the good park system, bike trails and so forth," said District 2 Councilman, Jon Camp. "But I think we need to do it in moderation."

Camp says there are so many neighborhood and regional parks, that the cities effort to maintain them hasn't been easy.

"Let's focus on quality, not quantity," said Camp. "We've had this desire to have neighborhood parks and regional parks everywhere and just because of the mobility of society we need to be stepping back and saying can we really afford to have these little small parcels that are expensive to maintain or go unmaintained?"

Councilwoman Baird says maintenance is exactly what the public wants.

"That includes taking care of parking lots in the parks, mowing our parks and repairing and making sure that those items that have been neglected during the time of recession are actually getting the time that they deserve," said Baird.

Both Baird and Camp say they are pleased with the mayors proposal to double the amount of money for sidewalk repair.

There will be a pair of public hearings on August 11 at the council chambers.

In the meantime, council members will meet with department heads to crunch the numbers and hash out the details.

The new fiscal year begins September 1.