Eschliman’s Cuts

May 31, 2006 at 12:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Robin Eschliman has, at the (semi) request of Mayor Seng, listed budget items she would cut:

  • Merit pay increases for city employees
    Why is it that people always talk about axing merit pay increases? Shouldn’t we support rewarding people for a job well done, as opposed to just giving people more money for showing up for another year of work?
  • Swimming pools, unless attendance goes up
    I wouldn’t mind seeing Lincoln explore closing some pools or shifting them to private ownership.
  • Bus routes
    There isn’t much fat to trim as far as bus routes go. It would be disappointing to tear up Star Tran just as it is starting to gain some ridership interest.
  • Expenditures involving water runoff, flood plain issues, etc.
    No comment, since I’m not clear what she is referring to.
  • Libraries, unless usage is increasing
    I’m not inherently opposed to the idea, but I would have to see specifics.
  • Capital improvements to parks
    This is probably doable. Lincoln’s parks—or at least the ones I’m most familiar with—seem to be doing OK right now. City partnerships with neighborhood associations and other community groups could probably help defray some maintenance costs, too.
  • Funding for the Women’s Commission; she suggests moving it under the umbrella of another department.
    I’m not familiar enough with the Women’s Commission or its funding to comment.

Oh, and just so you know, the list above wasn’t really supposed to be made public. So don’t tell anybody about it, okey dokey?

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The Comments

Barbara May 31, 2006 at 3:30pm

Little, if any, of what Robin Eschlimann is proposing has any merit. Come on, cutting *bus routes*? Cutting *library services*?

How about cutting the street-widening budget, instead? We should be encouraging people to ride the bus, not drive more. More people would take the bus if the city promoted it more heavily and *increased* the bus routes (eliminating the “hub” strategy would be even better).

Does Robin Eschlimann want a less educated general population? The library is a valuable resource for all citizens. It’s amazing to me that anyone could advocate cutting those services, especially since the Lincoln City Libraries, like most public library systems in this country, operates to close to the bone as it is.

Seriously, where is this person’s brain?

foxspit May 31, 2006 at 6:41pm

Amen!  There is no fat to cut in the library budget or Star Tran for that matter.  This list is small potatoes.

Mr. T June 1, 2006 at 1:38am

I would be interested to see usage statistics for the city’s libraries. I would very much support continued funding for public libraries here, esp. if its for a new downtown library. I am a near-downtown resident and regularly check out items from the downtown branch and visit there frequently. I would hang out there much more often if it was actually a nice place to hang out at (as opposed to being a dungeon like it is now).

Swoof June 1, 2006 at 3:22am

If the public libary held an amnesty day I’d be using my local libary a couple of times per week.  It’s not like they’d be losing any fine money since that goes into the city’s general fund.  If library fines were earmarked for the libraries I’d be more likely to bite the bullet, return the two books I’ve had since 2001 and pay the piper.

Barbara June 1, 2006 at 4:13am

Hey Swoof - the fine limit on the books is 10.00 each, no matter how long you had the books. I don’t think they’ll charge you replacement costs (I’m 99% sure)...

swoof June 1, 2006 at 4:15am

Barbara,  Really?  I didn’t used to be that way back when I used to frequent the place frequently.  I’ll give ‘em a call.  Thanks.

Barbara June 1, 2006 at 5:08am

Hmm, now I’m not sure, Swoof! I know there is a limit, though. I hope I’m right about it only being 10.00 ...

Michael June 1, 2006 at 6:15pm

According to LCL’s FAQ:

Adult cardholders (age 16 and older) are charged 25 cents per day per item (maximum fine of $5). Youth cardholders are charged 10 cents per day per item (maximum fine of $2).

...and if you pay your fines, you’re helping to support the library’s budget. BTW, some portion of the library’s and Parks & Rec’s budgets are generated through usage fees. The Parks Department is already underfunded, with a large part (>35%, maybe as high as 50%, I don’t recall at the moment) coming from alternative sources, such as private fundraising, usage fees, etc.

Did you know that Parks is responsible for the bike trails? How about that? You’d kind of expect that to be part of the city’s transportation (read Streets and Roads) budget. Along with sidewalks

Did you know that Public Works as proposed cutting the sidewalk maintenance budget by a whopping 75%? The comp plan calls for supporting encouraging alternate modes of transportation, with pedestrian being singled out for emphasis.

Councilwoman Eschliman needs to be reminded that “soft” programs, like recreational opportunities and multimodal transportation and cultural centers (like libraries), are beneficial to economic development, maybe even moreso than six lane roads that lead to Wal-Marts.

If you have thoughts about these issues, you should share them.

swoof June 2, 2006 at 3:59am

Barbara:

Does Robin Eschlimann want a less educated general population? .

Do you really want her answer to this question?

swoof June 2, 2006 at 4:04am

P.S. This story made the big time as Markos posted about it tonight on Dailykos.

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