Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that his proposed City budget for 2008-2009 will include two measures designed to move the City forward in economic development – an area ranked highly by citizens in the PRIORITY LINCOLN budget input process. The Mayor is proposing the City create a home ownership stimulus package and a Development Services Center (DSC) using two one-time sources of funds.
The stimulus package would address the decline in local home building, part of the national economic downturn. The Mayor proposes using about $610,000 in unspent stormwater bond interest to pay outstanding bonds, freeing up the funds for the stimulus package.
“Our goal is to encourage the building and sale of new homes,” Beutler said. “The plan will make a community investment in housing to encourage good-paying construction jobs, increased home loan activity and greater taxable sales. Details of the plan need to be worked out, but I envision families who purchase new homes or the builders receiving $1,000 or more per single-family home. The idea is to get that money pumped back into our local economy.”
The Mayor proposes using part of his Fast Forward Fund to create the DSC, a one-stop shop for the review, permitting and inspection of development projects. The Fast Forward Fund would be created with about $8 million from the seldom used Special Assessment Revolving Fund. Beutler said City staff has been researching the concept by talking to developers, studying work flow and visiting a City with a successful DSC.
“We are exploring the consolidation of personnel involved with our development process,” Beutler said. “We are learning how to leverage Internet-based tools for better service and greater convenience for the development community. Now is the time for Lincoln to look to the future and become a cutting-edge service provider to enhance economic opportunities and create job growth.”
Beutler said the use of these one-time funds is consistent with his philosophy that they should not be used for the City’s ongoing operations. “While one-time funds cannot solve our day-to-day budget problems, they can help us seize opportunities like the proposals I offer today so we can invest in our community and our future.”