More Lincoln police officers will wear body cameras next year thanks to vacancy savings at the police department this year.
Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced the new technology purchase at a meeting with the City Council on Monday.
The department deployed 24 Watchguard body cameras in January for its center team officers, whose precinct includes downtown, Chief Jeff Bliemeister said.
About $32,400 of the reappropriated funds that would have paid wages will instead fund the purchase of between 20 to 25 cameras for use by another of the department's geographic policing teams, the chief said.
Bliemeister's department is phasing in the cameras, in part to ensure it has the storage space necessary for the video and to avoid the need to replace the cameras all at once, he said.
"(Body-worn cameras) have added another tool for quality assurance and for use at trial in criminal cases," Bliemeister said.
Lot to aid flood reduction work
No, the city isn't getting into the restaurant business.
If you watch property transfers, you saw that earlier this summer the city bought 2100 N. 48th St. from Yolanda Rodriguez and Faviola Vera for $275,000.
That lot on the south end of University Place just north of Dead Man's Run was a place several restaurants called home, including Chaparro Fine Mexican Food, El Rincon Taqueria and Piezano's.
The building will likely be demolished later this fall.
Lincoln Stormwater Superintendent Ben Higgins said the property will aid the flood plain reduction project there.
Specifically, part of the site will help transition the existing narrow channel east of the North 48th Street bridge to the widened channel proposed for west of the bridge.
Also, the lot will likely be used to stage construction equipment when work begins in 2021 and 2022.
The city is paying for about a third of the $25 million Dead Man's Run project. City voters approved $6.6 million in bond funding for the project when they signed off on a $9.9 million stormwater improvement bond issue in May.
The work includes widening nearly 1½ miles of the main channel from Cornhusker Highway upstream to North 48th Street, building a new drainage system to pass stormwater under two railroad bridges more efficiently, replacing bridges over Dead Man's Run at 33rd, 38th and 48th streets and building a stormwater basin near Fleming Fields to temporarily hold water.
Another lawsuit over backup settled
The city has settled another lawsuit stemming from the 2015 sewer backup in northeast Lincoln.
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Terry and Kathy Danek had wanted more than $28,000 in relief from the city after sewage invaded their home near 42nd and Knox streets following the May 6-7 rainstorm that year.
Kathy Danek is a Lincoln Board of Education member.
Stormwater seeped into the city's sewer lines headed for the Theresa Street Water Treatment Plant and backed up sewage into hundreds of homes in the area.
Angry homeowners filed a wave of claims against the city, seeking funds for the repair work.
The city attorney said that storm and another in October 2014, considered acts of God, were responsible for the backups — not any city negligence — and any claims related to either of the storms would be denied.
The City Council set up a $1 million disaster assistance cleanup fund and paid $368,779 on 148 claims, based on city reports. Property owners could claim as much as $5,000 per property for that backup, as well as from another because of the October 2014 storm.
Those seeking relief could apply to recoup cleanup costs, but not restoration costs.
In 2017, the Daneks filed a lawsuit in Lancaster County District Court seeking $17,000 for the cost of remodeling their basement.
Last year, the city settled with Susan J. Dermer for $7,500. Her lawsuit sought more than $54,000 because of the sewer backups in October 2014 and May 2015.
Monday, the City Council approved the Daneks' settlement with the city: $4,500.
The Daneks' attorney declined to comment.
3.3% — The increase in the city's total operating budget for 2019-20. The Lincoln City Council will vote Monday to set the tax rate, including a slight increase in the property tax levy because of the stormwater bond issue approved in May.
5,000 — The projected attendance when the Railyard expands Sept. 28 for the Nebraska-Ohio State football game. Last week, between 1,500 and 2,000 people filled the space, which included a closed stretch of Canopy Street.
Eight — The number of portable toilets Hurrdat will have in the Railyard for the Sept. 28 expansion, double the number it had for last weekend's expansion. That's relieving.