Lincoln City Council candidate profile: Taylor Wyatt
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Republican Taylor Wyatt is facing off against Democrat incumbent James Michael Bowers for the Lincoln City Council District 1 seat, which covers a large swath of northeast Lincoln.
10/11 NOW sent a questionnaire to all candidates and we did not edit responses. Read Taylor Wyatt’s below and view other candidate profiles here.
Public Service History: Former public school teacher, youth sports coach and referee, mentor, and former Home Builders Association of Lincoln Director of Government Affairs
Briefly explain why you’re running for Lincoln City Council. I was born and raised in Lincoln and this is home for me, my wife, and my two children. Throughout my lifetime Lincoln has been a safe and affordable place to live full of great opportunities. However, in recent years we have witnessed dramatic increases in violent crimes, higher property taxes, and a failing roads system that has many concerned that our city is not keeping up with our potential. This is especially true with northeast Lincoln’s District 1 where we make our home. I want to make sure our city government prioritizes public safety, a quality roads system, and lower taxes to make sure Lincoln remains affordable to our young families and retirees.
As a city council member, you’ll be tasked with approving a city budget. Explain any experience you have handling budgets. What are your priorities when it comes to budget negotiations and how do you achieve them? As a small business owner and having served on several different boards and committees I understand the complexities of budgeting and understand that we all have to live within our means - even the city of Lincoln. This, in turn, means that we must work toward prioritizing the basic needs of our citizens first, budget efficiently and effectively, and then hold our city services and contractors accountable for their work. I believe in recent years Lincoln has lost touch with the true needs of our city and it is starting to show. I will prioritize public safety, roads and infrastructure, and not overburdening our taxpayers with excessive windfalls from dramatically higher property valuations. I will also work to make our city budget more transparent for the taxpayers who we work for.
What can be done by the city council to improve housing affordability? If you look at Omaha and Lincoln, the housing prices are incredibly different. The reason is cooperative attitudes toward development and common sense amendments to Nebraska codes. Simply put, we have not done a good job and Lincoln has created an unhealthy housing environment on multiple levels. We must thoroughly review our current codes and processes and make the needed adjustments to become more affordable and competitive in the marketplace.
What are your thoughts on using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for development? When appropriate, Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a great tool to promote development. We must always be mindful not to overuse TIF or use TIF for projects that are not associated with vital public infrastructure. TIF should not be used for non-essential projects such as artwork or beautification projects. . As a member of the city council I will thoroughly review each TIF proposal before making any decision.
How should Lincoln work to attract new business and support and increase the number of small businesses? It’s an all encompassed question that starts with an affordable and attractive place to live. According to a recent study done by the National Homebuilders Association, less than 8% of Lincoln can afford the median house price in Lincoln. It is hard to hire people to that level and that standard of living. Combine that with the need of feeling like a safe community with adequate and properly supported police and fire stations. These priorities must be clearly addressed going forward. These are just a couple examples.
When should Lincoln’s COVID-19 health emergency expire? The COVID Health Emergency should have expired when the State of Nebraska ended emergency measures on June 30, 2021.
Would you support an LGBTQ fairness ordinance ballot initiative? It would be irresponsible for any elected official to commit support or oppose any ordinance without seeing the final language. Far too often candidates make commitments without fully considering all potential consequences both intended and unintended. I pledge to the voters that I will carefully research and gather input on every ordinance that crosses my desk.
A handful of Nebraska municipalities have outlawed abortion by local ordinance. Would you support a such a move in Lincoln? My priorities on the city council are focused on the issues that matter to all of our citizens, not any political agenda. I believe that over the past several years our city leadership has been too focused on promoting a set of political agendas and lost focus on the true needs of our city. As a member of the city council I will be focusing on public safety, roads and infrastructure, and affordable living.
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