Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



Final Report November 2013.


Copyright 2013 University of Nebraska.


This report presents the results of the 2013 Taking Charge initiative sponsored by the City of Lincoln. This was the sixth year of Taking Charge activities, and included an online survey and a half-day, face-to-face, Community Conversation. Unlike previous Taking Charge activities, which focused narrowly on the immediate concerns of an impending budget proposal (e.g. which specific programs should be funded or discontinued to maintain a balanced budget), this year’s efforts focused more broadly on strategic planning for the City’s future budget policy priorities.

A number of important findings were identified from an examination of more than 1,100 completed online surveys and the input provided by 92 participants in the conversation. These findings included:

  • Though there was broad support for increased spending in nearly all areas of City government, Safety and Security and Efficient Transportation stood out as areas of particularly high importance for many survey participants.
  • Of the eight outcome areas which define all current City functions, survey respondents recommended an increase in spending for all but two areas: Identity Lincoln and Healthy and Productive People.
  • In particular, within the Safety and Security outcome area, online survey respondents favored increased attention on maintaining low crime rates. However, participants in the Community Conversation tended to place relatively less emphasis on this goal and instead stressed the importance of timely and effective incident management.
  • Within the Efficient Transportation outcome area, both online survey respondents and face-to-face participants stressed the importance of providing and maintaining transportation infrastructure. Participants in the Community Conversation further clarified their preference for additional funds dedicated to the maintenance of existing streets and sidewalks, with a lesser emphasis on new construction.
  • Participants in the Community Conversation expressed a willingness to pay higher taxes to realize their desired policy outcomes and a preference for generating new revenue as opposed to cutting existing spending.