The mayor merely raised the idea of a property tax increase without getting into specifics, and council members made little or no response.
"We have not raised property taxes in five years," he said. "The school board raises them every four years."
Currently, Lancaster's tax rate on real property is .15 percent per $100 of assessed value; on vehicles .23 percent per $100 of assessed value; and on real property .25 percent per $100 of assessed value.
School taxes appear on county tax bills.
Overall, Lancaster anticipates little growth in its general fund, from the current $1,182,209 to a proposed $1,242,100 in the next fiscal year. That's an increase of $59,891, or 5 percent, which Rinthen said will be largely due to taxes on liquor sales at Lancaster's apparently thriving new package liquor stores.
Council members took little or no issue with Rinthen's draft budget, and there were no first readings of proposals and no votes because it was a work session.
However, there was more intense discussion of the first three city ordinances the council is reviewing and revising.
Council members agreed to establish fines on its dog leash law of $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second and $100 for the third.
Discussion of the proposed nuisance ordinance prompted more involved debate. The proposed measure would govern any nuisance considered a danger to safety and public help, such as piles of scrap metal, junked appliances and vehicles, accumulated rubbish, dead animals, excessive noise and grass and weeds that have grown 12 inches or higher. Violation of the nuisance ordinance could prompt fines of, successively, $25, $50 and $100.
The measure would prohibit an owner from parking an 18-wheel rig or commercial truck in a front yard or on a residential street. Fines can increase from $100 to $500 with each offense.
Council member Bret Baierlein took issue with the proposed limits on where an 18-wheel rig or commercial truck can be parked. Baierlein said he had a problem with prohibiting an owner from parking such a vehicle on personal property.
Rinthen said the many components of the nuisance ordinance reflected changes in the city as it has grown and matured.
"We have to decide what we want city to be and what we don't want the city to be," Rinthen said. "If you want to be a progressive city, you've got to think like a progressive city."
Council members had involved discussions about long-standing practices of some city homeowners to have a horse or other animals in a large backyard that made the property seem like a farm. Rinthen said both the sense and the reality of a farm-like presence in back of city homes belonged to an era that in Lancaster has passed, or is passing rapidly with the considerable growth and change in the city and county.
The council has a regular meeting scheduled for May 4 and another work session set for May 18. Both sessions will be at 7 p.m. at city hall.