Lincoln selects mayoral finalists and hikes sales tax for street repairs

Lincoln selects mayoral finalists and hikes sales tax for street repairs
Mayor Chris Beutler

LINCOLN — Lincoln selected two finalists to replace term-limited Mayor Chris Beutler, and passed a 1/4-cent increase in city sales taxes to increase chuckhole repair and rehabilitation of streets in Tuesday’s primary election.

Mayoral candidates advancing to the general election on May 7 were two current Lincoln City Council members: Leirion Gaylor Baird, a Democrat; and Cyndi Lamm, a Republican. Placing third in the primary voting was current Lincoln City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick, a Democrat. Trailing the field were two nonpartisan candidates, Rene Solc and Krystal Gabel.

Beutler, 74, has served as the mayor of Nebraska’s second-largest city for 12 years, and is the state’s highest ranking elected Democrat. A group of prominent Republicans blocked Beutler’s consideration of running for a fourth term by petitioning a referendum onto the ballot in November placing a three-term limit on the Lincoln mayor. Voters passed the referendum, opening up the mayoral post.

The 1/4-cent city sales tax is expected to generate $13 million a year and would expire after six years. It is primarily aimed at rehabilitation of existing neighborhood and arterial streets.

As of about 10:30 p.m., it was winning by only 579 votes.

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