The Lincoln Independent Business Association appreciates the efforts Lincoln Public Schools has made in reviewing possible sites for the new District Office. We also believe the public should be commended for their willingness to provide suggestions for possible sites.
LIBA has reviewed the four finalist sites, and we feel strongly that the 5901 “O” Street site is a valuable commercial site that should be sold and placed back on the tax rolls. We would also encourage the District to explore whether a restriction could be placed on the property so that the new owner would not qualify for TIF.
Even if a buyer for the “O” Street site does not currently exist, the location of this site directly across the street from a major regional mall would seem to be attractive to commercial developers, increasing the market value and providing additional tax dollars to the District through its property tax levy.
With improvements to the remaining sites, the District should still have a net gain from the sale of the “O” Street property of at least $1 million and as much as $3 million. The District should not ignore this latent value in the “O” Street site, especially since it is facing very difficult budgets ahead and an increase in building needs.
We encourage the District to consider the overall costs to develop each site and the potential benefits that each site may present to the community. We strongly recommend returning the old site to the tax rolls, which would increase annual property tax revenue to fund other significant needs for schools.
On another topic, Tim Cox, the LIBA Chairman had a letter to the editor responding to a Journal Star editorial. Tuesday, September 13, 2011, the Lincoln Journal Star printed an editorial, entitled “County’s budget kicks a can down the road,” which was an unfortunate attempt at trying to call raising taxes a good thing.
That’s right. The editorial called out the Lancaster County Board for not raising taxes.
The LIBA Board of Directors thinks the County Board deserves a round of applause for being fiscally responsible at a time when it was difficult to do so. They balanced their budget with a $4.2 million shortfall, and they did it without raising taxes or jeopardizing the core functions of government.
They were tough at the negotiating table with public-sector unions, not caving in at the first sign of impasse, and they have been doing their part to level the playing field between government union employees and private-sector employees.
The County Board used $1.5 million in Keno funds to avoid a property tax increase. They did what was necessary to hold the county ship steady through this economic storm.
They made the tough decisions and represented those they were supposed to be representing: the taxpayers who elected them.
The real story is that the Lancaster County Board exercised fiscal responsibility and held the line on taxes!
If you are not a member of LIBA we would like to add your voice to our organization. Business memberships are under $250 a year and individuals who believe in a conservative approach to government are also encouraged to join for only $100. LIBA studies and promotes these types of issues that are important to businesses and our community. If you have an interest in joining LIBA, please call me at 402-466-3419.
by Coby Mach, President & CEO
Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA)