Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Could be worse

We are in the process of preparing our budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The budget cycle lasts almost nine months these days, and it’s not exactly a time of joy and mirth. We have had a couple lean years in municipal budgeting here in Lincoln. Sometimes it is good to look around and consider the positives, though. We have not lost any positions, and in fact we were able to add four officers to our complement during the current budget year by virtue of a stimulus grant. All in all, Lincoln is doing pretty well compared to the rest of the nation, as evidenced by this article in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal.

21 comments:

JIM J said...

With all the cash that the Obama admin is making and the printers working OT, how can any departments be short?
An old Wendy's ad (1999) featured Clarabel exclaiming wheres the beef?
http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0
The tea party folks should have one. Wheres the jobs?
Chief, our president would be proud to know that Lincoln has four Officers added. As a result we only have 2,999,996 more jobs to fill.
My magic eight ball says "it is worse"
It depends on if you look at the glass half full.
That's all.

Anonymous said...

6:02...clever.
Here is another:
http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=aISkVvi5iI8
Dispatch?

Anonymous said...

Just wait until the arena gets built. The city will be flush with sales tax dollars. It should make building your budget a snap.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to bring up the Arena topic but since it already has been, I feel that with the country financially crumbling around the midwest, does this Arena make sense to build now? Lincoln has made cuts in several departments, the weather has taken a toll on the resources. The streets are crumbling with potholes like no other year before. Lincoln is suffering too, not jsut as bad as other places. The tax burden is so heavy now just trying to maintain the city. Why would the city throw this monsterous burden on tax payers now? I think this "creating more jobs" BS is just that. All the jobs from Pershing and some from Devaney ae going to transfer to the arena. Those jobs will be just that Jobs...Summer jobs, college kid jobs, part time wage jobs. They won't be "career type" jobs. There is no relief in the near future for the budget crisis and I think it's time to try to maintain what we have and not spend and tax more.

Anonymous said...

Chief,

Any idea how many officers you will be able to hire for the summer academy, considering the budget picture?

Watchful said...

What an innovative means to insure job security for officers!???? Tell the bad guys they can break into a house or business and steal with no fear that officers will be responding because they cant afford the gas in their cruisers to handle burglarys. Better yet, tell them that officers need to have a suspect before they are dispatched, so wear a masks.

What about Lincoln? Will Parking Enforcement Officers be getting the axe? Imagine the lost revenue from parking fines alone!

At some point, the citizens of every community will be forced into self policing their neighborhoods to thwart crime because of city budget cuts. Much like it was only a mere 30 years ago.

Better still is the instant justice brought upon a thief caught with his hand in someone else's cookie jar. After the beat down, THEN call the police to haul his butt to jail after a visit to the ER.

So, this could be a good thing... or not.

Tom Casady said...

11:00-

We up-sized the class that just started in January to 18, so my current projection for the fall academy class is 7.

10:19-

Not my field of expertise, but some very smart people in the private sector seem to be convinced that this will be a catalyst for a lot of economic activity--way beyond the arena itself.

Been to Qwest lately? I was there a few weeks ago, for the first time. I am floored by the amount of private development that's occurring in the NoDo area (that's what they're calling North Downtown), particularly during these economic conditions.

Grundle King said...

@ Anon 10:19

Heavy tax burden? Compared to whom? Lincoln's property tax levy is 7th among Nebraska's largest 10 cities. Yeah the streets are in bad shape, because no one is willing to pay an extra $10-20 bucks a year in property taxes because that will somehow break their budget.

I know I'd be willing to pay an extra $20 a year if it meant I didn't have to dodge potholes 4 months out of the year.

Anonymous said...

I've been keeping a close eye on the situation in Colorado Springs.
It's my understanding that, if you peel back a few layers, you'll find a lot of corruption.
The stimulus money has, allegedly, been given to the U.S. Olympic Training center for a big, shiny new building downtown, while the mayor now faces an increasing public outcry over the budget and infrastructure cuts they've had to make.
Long story short, I'd rather be here in Lincoln, than just about anywhere else in the U.S.!

Steve said...

I just plugged in my new Sony laptop and connected to the Internet. The Chief's Corner has been my home page for some time (not sure what that says about me), and I see no reason to change just because it's a new computer. I'm doing my share to stimulate the economy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grundle King, you go ahead and pay more taxes. I'm paying to many already. And you can pay more when the arena gets built, that no one except the beautiful people will be able to afford to attend. Another stupid idea by the smart people of Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

The streets are the worst I've ever seen in 57 years. Looks like the mayor dropped the ball again. Why wasn't it budgeted in? It's like we've never had serious snow. Maybe we should use some of that money we don't have for an arena, to take better care of the streets.

Anonymous said...

Chief-I'm in Tulsa tonight. Here are the two stories on the evening TV news:

1. There are 200 violent teenage gang members creating havoc in town. What should we do?

2. Tulsa PD is laying off 124 Police Officers because of budget shortfalls. What should we do?

Dallas PD is in town recruiting the laid-off officers because they need 400 new officers per year to keep ahead of crime.

Maybe the Crips need a job fair in Tulsa to take some gang members out of town since there are fewer cops to battle.......

Ridiculous.

256

Tom Casady said...

5:26-

Read Grundle King's post. You cannot complain about your paltry property tax levy to support City government (yes, it really is very low compared to other cities) on the one hand, then complain about the lack of street resurfacing on the other. It takes money to resurface streets. Lincoln's using just a little bit over half it's levy--way less than Omaha (where the potholes are even more numberous), and everyone complains. Look at your property tax statement and you'll see where that money is actually going--it's not City government. Fourteen cents on the dollar. Here endeth the lesson.

256-

One of our alumni is an FBI agent in Oklahoma City, he sent me a link yesterday to this article about the Tulsa situaiton.

Anonymous said...

To: Gundle King:
I COMPLETELY agree. The tax-aversity of Lincolnites is only exceeded by our willingness to complain about how "crappy" people think the city is maintained. There is a connection, people. We are UNDERTAXED in Lincoln.

As for why our roads are in disrepair:
1. It's not the current administration (Beutler) that caused this. It goes back to the Wesely admin that mortgaged the roads to pay for Haymarket Park.
2. The Beutler administration did, as many did this year, gamble that winter would be "normal" or "below normal" in terms of snow. Few anticipated this much hard weather. Had they budgeted a lot more for snow removal, you same dolts would be complaining about "why did they put so much into snow removal when it didn't snow?"

Anonymous said...

As far as the arena thing goes, it's like the antelope valley project. Remember, the Chief is a city official, and as such, isn't likely to publicly take an opposite position to an undertaking which the mayor and city council have backed. Support it, sure, remain silent, possibly, but publicly oppose it, no. It's like pending legislation that the mayor and council back or oppose, all appointed officials have to sing in harmony, if they sing at all. It's not like being an elected Sheriff, who can be at odds with the county board if they take issue with that board.

Anonymous said...

Look at your tax statement and see who gets the most for your taxes. Then look at what their top people make for income.

Donimo said...

Chief,
While we're talking budgets, and your last post mentioning all the cool new gadgets and technology the PD is getting, I thought of the rave I've been hearing about the Carbon Motor's police cruiser. I'm sure you're familiar with it. Myself and a friend have had a disagreement about weather these vehicles would have a future in Lincoln.
From what I've seen and read about the car, they claim the price is near the same as Crown Vic, Dodge Charger, etc, after you outfit these vehicles with all the lights, radios special equipment etc.
I realize though that this is somewhat misleading, as I'm sure after a vehicle is decommissioned from your fleet, all that equipment is removed, and recycled into the new vehicles the city purchases as they probably have a longer life span than the car itself. So really, the city is buying just the vehicle with out all the goods to go with it.
Also, I'm sure the maintenance shop/garage have lots of spare after market parts for your current fleet, such as engine parts, fenders etc etc. Switching to the Carbon motors vehicle, this supply would be useless, and if one of the vehicles were to need maintenance, you'd have to solely rely on Carbon Motors to send parts, which would likely be more expensive and cumbersome than the current system in place.
The Carbon Motors vehicle is powered by a diesel engine, would the mechanics need additional training and certification to work on these vehicles, also being an additional cost to the city? Would the city also have to reoutfit its fuel depots to supply diesel fuels.
The Carbon Motors E7 cruiser looks like a fantastic tool for law enforcement, and from the technologies it advertises, sounds like that would also be a large burden to upkeep, and keep running.
My hunch is that Carbon Motors is going to have a difficult time selling these vehicles to agencies. Not because the car is bad, but because overcoming the current logistics will be real hard to sell.
Do you foresee a future for this Cruiser at LPD?

Tom Casady said...

Donimo-

Saw it and blogged about it back in 2008.

The prototype was pretty awesome, although I was suspicious at the closed engine compartment and the fact that we couldn't step past the rope. Lot of great concpets in the design, like the huge suicide doors and the integrated electronics and lights.

Carbon Motors says they will be in the market with the 2012 model year. I beleive they are asserting that the diesal powerplant and drivetrain will have a 250,000 mile lifespan, and thus offset the high initial purchase price by tripling the typical urban police fleet mileage. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

"Look at your tax statement and see who gets the most for your taxes. Then look at what their top people make for income."

You must be referring to this bloated outfit. It's never, ever enough, either, they always want more.

Matt said...

Chief,

It is very exciting to me to see that the Lincoln Police Department is still able to hire with all of the budget shortcomings in major cities around the country. I am about to graduate from the University of Memphis this May and will be coming up next month to test for the academy. I am originally from Lincoln, and I was very excited to find out that opportunities for hire still existed in such a great city. Kudos to you and your team.