Leirion Gaylor Baird outspent her opponent, Cyndi Lamm, 2-to-1 in her successful bid to become Lincoln's mayor. 

The most recent campaign finance reports show Gaylor Baird, a Democrat with a track record of raking in campaign donations, raised more than $580,000 since she announced her candidacy last fall. 

Lamm raised about $250,000 in the same period.

The Republican former city councilwoman spent all but $4,400, while Gaylor Baird had more than $84,000 in cash on hand after settling all election expenses, campaign finance reports show. 

Experts say it takes about $500,000 to run an effective campaign for mayor.

In the 2015 mayoral election, Chris Beutler and Andy Stebbing combined to spend more than $630,000 in their campaigns.

Among this year's City Council candidates, Richard Meginnis raised more than $103,000 and spent all but $14,000. 

Jane Raybould, an incumbent who had just run for U.S. Senate, spent less than half of what her opponent Colten Zamrzla, a political newcomer, spent.

That contest marked the only City Council race in which the candidate who spent the most money lost. 

City settles over crash 

The family of Jessica Brandon will receive $80,000 in a tort claim settlement with the city of Lincoln for injuries she suffered when a police cruiser hit her as she crossed the street. 

Brandon filed the claim in February 2018, about seven months before she was shot and killed in her Belmont home in what investigators have called an attempted drug robbery. 

City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick this week said the city kept the claim on pending because Brandon was undergoing physical therapy at the time of her death and the city wanted to know how much the medical costs associated with the injury would be. 

The city didn't dispute its liability in the accident because Brandon was within a crosswalk and was legally crossing, Kirkpatrick said. 

Her claim had sought $1 million. 

The three men accused in Brandon's murder are awaiting trial in federal court.

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Sales tax shortfall narrows

City sales tax receipts have rebounded near the end of the fiscal year, but despite the upturn, budget officers have projected a shortfall of $1.5 million ahead of the adjustments to Lincoln's two-year budget. 

A slower-than-expected December had the city facing a potential $3 million budget gap by late spring. 

City budget analyst Jan Bolin updated the City Council last week and reported sales tax receipts increased 6% in April, which was also the first month the state collected online sales taxes.

Fountain feedback sought

The folks seeking public input on how to improve the worn and corroding Bicentennial Cascade Fountain at 27th Street and Capitol Parkway have finalized their options and opened a survey. 

Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department officials say the 40-year-old fountain's plumbing is likely to fail, and with the cost of repairing it totaling $900,000, the community should weigh in whether to fix it or repurpose the space. 

The options offered in the survey are to repair the fountain, repair it and reduce the basin to make way for a plaza, replace the fountain with a splash pad or replace the fountain with a conservatory.

The most expense option rings up at about $2 million, and prospective payment options for the proposals include private fundraising and grants by the Lincoln Parks Foundation.

To weigh in, visit go.unl.edu/cascade. To request a paper copy, call 402-441-8258.

Fast takes

* $8,117 — The amount of additional money the West Haymarket Joint Public Agency approved for pigeon-proofing under the raised plaza and pedestrian bridge on the north side of Pinnacle Bank Arena. The metal plates keep pigeons from roosting on the ledges and light poles underneath.

* 150 — The number of teddy bears gifted to Lincoln Fire and Rescue by a theater troupe performing a play in Lincoln about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. LFR crews will give the bears to children going to the hospital. 

* $40,000 — The amount Pepsi-Cola and U-Stop contributed to pay for the fireworks display at Uncle Sam Jam, which is Wednesday night at Oak Lake. 

* Quotable: "I haven't met a firework I didn't like." — Raybould.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


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