Passage of California budget has minor effects for Lincoln

By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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The California State Legislature’s passage of a budget last week has repercussions for the city of Lincoln but not all of those are known yet. “Right now, it’s too early to tell the real specifics,” said Mayor Spencer Short on Monday. “We know the generalities like keeping the bypass going but we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.” City Manager Jim Estep also acknowledged the budget passage’s effect on the bypass. “In general, it’s a good thing for Lincoln as it will keep the Highway 65 bypass project moving forward, which will ultimately help the city with opportunities for retail and commercial development,” Estep said Monday. “It also frees up money (and) funding for projects and grants that are state funded.” Funding for some of the city’s projects is from Proposition 1B money, which was a package of propositions Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed through several years ago for transit funding. Estep said that that funding has been held up, pending the passage of the budget. Without a full analysis and briefing on the budget, according to Estep, it is too early to make more specific comments. Estep said that analysis will be finished soon. “The state budget does not appear to significantly impact our city revenues,” said Steve Ambrose, director of finance and administrative services on Tuesday. “The package did not suspend Proposition 1A protections for local property and sales tax, which are the largest General Fund revenues for the city.” Proposition 1A was another of the propositions pushed through by Gov. Schwarzenegger, and protects transit funding. Local safety funds were also preserved, Ambrose said, adding that had they been taken from the city by the state to fill its own coffers, it would have resulted in a $180,000 loss. John Pedri, director of public works, said the main projects that were held up pending the passage of the state budget, other than the bypass, were the completion of the city’s groundwater management program and the pedestrian and neighborhood electric vehicle bridge – which is in the planning stages – that will eventually cross Auburn Ravine, linking Safeway and the new post office. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at