City Council holds public hearing on proposed budgets

On Monday night, the public weighed in on the city’s proposed spending plans for the next two years.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - On Monday, the public weighed in on the City of Lincoln’s proposed spending plans for the next two years. The hearing, which lasted about four hours, covered topics ranging from public transit to health.

The proposed tax-funded budget for 2022-23, which would start in September of this year, is $243 million and $254 million for 2023-24.

At Monday’s meeting, Lincoln Transportation and Utilities discussed the financial impact of continuing fare-free bus riding. LTU is proposing to bring back fares, some lower than they were before the pandemic. But, some people spoke out against that.

“I’m here to tell you that fare-free along with any other process improvement is vital to this community,” said Kathy Ashley, a public commenter at the hearing. “It affects our economic vitality. Did you know that every person who rides on a StarTran bus is generating economic vitality for Lincoln? They’re earning a wage, or they’re spending their incomes, they’re paying property taxes and sales tax. They’re a vital part of our community.”

Another major topic is a home health initiative. The city is proposing to add eight public health nurse positions to create a community-wide home health initiative to support moms and babies.

“What could a home visit have done for me? They could’ve diagnosed and provided medical consult for hematoma, a complication from the C-section I had, provided extra support about breastfeeding because it started a little bit late, help navigate our country’s worst formula supply shortage.” said Lacie Bolte, a public commenter at the hearing.

The council will vote on the proposed budgets for this upcoming fiscal year and the next on Monday, Aug. 22. They’ll start discussing any possible changes next week.

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