A coalition supporting the quarter-cent sales tax proposal has raised almost $100,000 for its campaign, most of it from businesses that make money from street projects or would benefit from a freeze on impact fees.
The proposal to raise the city’s sales tax by a quarter-cent for six years to fund street maintenance and construction projects will be on the April 9 primary ballot.
The additional quarter-cent would raise about $13 million a year that would be earmarked specifically for work on city streets, both building new or widening arterials at the edge of the city and rehabilitating residential and arterial streets within the city.
The coalition of private businesses and the city of Lincoln both have campaigns related to the quarter-cent plan.
In a report to the state Accountability and Disclosure Commission, the Fix Lincoln Streets Now Coalition reported raising $99,243 this year and spending $59,118 so far.
Most of the donations came from engineering firms and road construction companies, including $10,000 each from Central Plains Cement and from Olsson.
The National Association of Realtors donated almost $33,000 in polling services, and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce PAC gave $12,500, according to the report.
The city is also spending up to $265,000 on an educational campaign related to the quarter-cent plan. The Chamber of Commerce Foundation donated $75,000 to that campaign, and the city is financing the rest.
Olsson, a Lincoln-based engineering firm, donated to the private coalition and also has a contract, up to $93,000, for work on the city's educational campaign.
The quarter-cent plan was a compromise between business interests and the city administration. Mayor Chris Beutler preferred seeking a half-cent sales tax increase. Business interests, including developers and realtors, wanted at least some of the money to be used on new and wider roads helping with growth.
As part of that compromise, the plan earmarks at least 25 percent of the tax revenue for new street construction and provides there will be no increase in the city’s impact fees, on new home and business construction, for five years.
Other companies donating more than $1,000 to the coalition listed on the report include:
Alfred Benesch & Co., $5,000; Hawkins Construction Co., $5,000; JEO Consulting Group, $5,000; Jebro Inc., $3,000; Pavers Inc., $2,500; 1640 LLC, $1,000; B & J Partnership LTD/Speedway, $1,000; E & A Consulting Group, $1,000; Kirkham Michael & Associates Inc., $1,000; Seacrest & Kalkowski, $1,000; Terracon Consultants Inc., $1,000; and American Council of Engineering Companies-NE PAC, $1,000.