Wednesday Feb 11 2009
City services see reductions as result of layoffs
By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
Citizens can help in some cases
With 31 city layoffs across six departments now complete, city officials confirmed where services will be cut. The cuts were made to balance the $1-million General Fund gap created by a sharp decline in tax revenues, following the national economic downturn. Jill Thompson, the city of Lincoln’s spokeswoman, detailed service reductions as follows: City Hall The loss of staff will result in delays to responses regarding customer utilities and residence concerns. Libraries The library hours have been cut to a total of 42 hours per week between both the Carnegie and Twelve Bridges libraries. In addition to the cuts in hours, some programs, including “Mother Goose on the Loose” and “Storytimes” will be reduced. With professional staff cut, there is not as much time to perform services such as cataloging, information search and retrieval. Residents can help by volunteering at the libraries, Thompson said. A volunteer training session will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 21 at the Twelve Bridges Library, 485 Twelve Bridges Drive. Call 434-2410 for more information. Community Development With the release of two building inspectors, remaining staff members were reassigned to compensate. Thompson said that customers can expect a reduction in available time to address inquiries, complaints and code interpretations. Public Works Instead of trail maintenance, inspection and cleanup being performed weekly, it will now be performed monthly. Residents can help keep the trails maintained and clean by picking up trash and not littering, Thompson said. In addition to the trails, water meter readings will be delayed and streetlight repair and replacement will be scheduled two days per month instead of four. Police Two of the three officers in the traffic division have been reassigned to patrol duty and it may be necessary to reassign the youth-services officer to patrol duty as well, which would impact efforts at Lincoln schools and the Youth Center. Additionally, crime-prevention programs will be reduced or eliminated and response times could see delays. Residents can help keep their neighborhoods safe by organizing and joining neighborhood watch communities. An informational meeting for Neighborhood Watch is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at Police Headquarters on Beermann Plaza, said Community Services Officer Paul Tyler. Call 645-4040 for more information. Recreation Recreation department offices will be periodically closed, with phone calls being forwarded to messages, some youth sports and camps will be reduced or eliminated and support to the Lincoln Youth Center has been eliminated. Community support in the form of volunteers at the Youth Center would help alleviate the cut in support.