The Bellevue City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday so the public can offer input on the proposed biennial municipal budget.
A public hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at Bellevue City Hall, 210 W. Mission Ave. The second reading of the budget is the only item on the agenda for the special meeting. Other items, such as a proposed restaurant tax, will be taken up at the council's next regular meeting.
The city canceled a council meeting last Monday after two council members had personal emergencies, leaving the council without the necessary attendance to conduct business. The city announced the special meeting Thursday morning.
“This is about the only time we could get the schedules coordinated,” said city spokesman Phil Davidson.
A proposed fiscal year 2013-14 and 2014-15 budget would see taxes increase 4.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation over the two-year period while still seeing a 13.3 percent cut in city spending as city officials struggle to deal with a $5-million shortfall.
Taxes would increase to 59 cents in the proposed 2013-14 budget and then tick up to 60 cents for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Meanwhile, on the chopping block for the city are city services, including:
• Eliminating the Music in the Parks program, support for the Bellevue Farmers Market and free tours of Olde Towne's historical buildings by city employees;
• Cutting nine Bellevue Police Department positions, three full-time and six part-time, which includes a background investigator and the community policing coordinator who organizes the Neighborhood Watch and National Night Out programs;
• Adding 12 full-time career firefighters while implementing a “rolling brownout” that would have one of the city's four fire stations closed each day, which studies have shown would cause response times in affected areas to double and represents a 25 percent cut in fire suppression capabilities, Fire Chief Perry Guido said at a previous meeting;
• Shrinking the swimming pool season from 11 weeks to 9 weeks while also closing one of the city's five pools every day on a rotating basis during the shortened season;
• Reducing hours at the Bellevue Public Library from 69 per week to 60 or 61 hours per week, along with cutting the budget for purchasing books by 18 percent;
• Removing portable toilets in city parks, the Bellevue Cemetery and the historic First Presbyterian Church in Olde Towne, along with mowing grass on city property less frequently.
In addition to the special meeting, public input on the budget will also be heard Monday at the meeting that begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall. A vote on the budget is scheduled for that meeting as well, so the city can have time to prepare budget summaries for the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts by the office’s Sept. 20 deadline.