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Input survey leaves off library

Interim city manager suggests respondents write in ‘other’ box
By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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The “City of Lincoln City Manager – Community Input Survey” e-blasted by Lincoln staff Nov. 26 and included on the city website left one service off that residents regularly bring up at Lincoln City Council meetings. 

Not included in the listed services was the library, which is budgeted in the city’s General Fund.

But police, fire, parks and recreation services, other hot topics when General Fund services are brought up in city budget discussions, were listed in the survey.

Also included in the survey to rank were overall financial stability of the city, City Hall customer service levels, economic development, business retention and expansion/job creation, development of downtown area, inter-governmental relations, traffic congestion, road infrastructure and code enforcement.

The survey asked respondents to select the top five characteristics/attributes of the city of Lincoln “that are most important to you.” The survey was sent to Lincoln residents and business owners.

Results received by this Friday will be shared by Lincoln City Councilmen as they interview city manager candidates this month, according to the survey’s introduction.

“The City Council … would like input from local residents and business owners on what characteristics/attributes you would like to see in the new City Manager,” the introduction stated.

Lincoln Mayor Gabriel Hydrick, as mentioned in the adjacent story about hiring a new city manager, encourages residents to be part of the recruitment process. One way, he suggested, is to respond to the city’s survey.

The News Messenger emailed Lincoln Interim City Manager Bill Zenoni Monday whether leaving out the library was intentional or a mistake, and if it was a mistake, would the city do another survey so residents can rank the library?

“We certainly did not intentionally omit the library,” Zenoni responded. “There is an ‘other’ box, which can be used to identify the library or any other program which the survey respondents would like to list as a priority.”

Zenoni didn’t respond by press time to the question, “Why can’t you rerelease the survey with the library added as a characteristic/attribute?”

The News Messenger also asked Hydrick if the city will send out a new survey with the library added so that city manager candidates can get a clearer picture of what residents want.

“It is an unfortunate and unintentional oversight that the library was left out of the survey,” Hydrick said. “I don’t think we have time to reissue the survey and include the library, unfortunately. …Bill (Zenoni) did give the council the survey for review before it was distributed. I overlooked it and as the mayor, as well as a councilmember that attends LAB/LAC (Library Advisory Board/Library Advisory Committee) meetings, I accept full responsibility.”

Hydrick hopes “the citizens that are concerned most about the library, like my wife, will pick up on it and fill in the ‘other’ box.’”