What's Hot on the Hotline: We are repairing the potholes on main and secondary streets every day as long as the weather permits. Please call the hotline with specific locations 402-444-5555.Click Here
I have reorganized the Mayor's office to provide excellent customer service to everyone. My staff is here to help and inform you. We all bring different backgrounds and experiences to our jobs.Click Here
We value your comments, ideas and opinions and look forward to hearing from you. Please include your name in your email so we can provide a personal response. Unsigned emails may not be answered.Click Here
There is a lot of discussion in Omaha about jobs, opportunity and workforce training. It is an area we have been working on for nearly one year. Below is an article I submitted to the Omaha Star, which was published today.
For the first time in many years, the City of Omaha has a strategic plan. This is an important guide that sets priorities and tracks our progress. One of my strategic priorities is to maximize development in disadvantaged areas and expand job and business growth.
We all have the same goal: we want our small businesses to be successful. Any suggestion otherwise is not correct.
The federally mandated Sewer Separation Project (CSO) provides opportunities for small contractors to bid on CSO work, but they must be certified in the Small and Emerging Business Program.
For the last ten years, the City paid a consultant to provide the services our small businesses need to bid and win city contracts. We are not satisfied with the results. More needs to be done.
Many involved in this discussion have provided input; the City Council, contractors, non-profits that provide workforce training, the CSO management team, City directors, community groups, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, and others. I have listened to those concerns and suggestions.
It’s clear a renewed commitment to our small businesses is needed now.
I am taking these actions immediately to support economic inclusion and to equip small and emerging businesses with the tools they need to be able to bid on and win City contracts.
First, I have hired Spencer K. Danner, Jr. to provide oversight to the SEB program, work with contractors to ensure they understand how to become certified, facilitate training and education and be the direct liaison between contractors and City departments that execute construction contracts. Mr. Danner reports to me.
Second – I have authorized a thorough review of the SEB ordinance and its implementation and will make recommendations for change if needed.
Third – To grow participation in the SEB program, the Public Works staff will break large CSO projects into smaller pieces, so our SEB companies can successfully bid and win.
Four – Provide funding for a one-stop shop that will offer resources for small businesses. The City will provide start-up funding and ask other business partners to do the same. Services would include business plan creation, bonding, insurance, and technical assistance to bid on city projects.
Five- the City’s contract with CH2M Hill, the lead project management firm, will be up for renewal soon. I will thoroughly review this contract and require the company to make financial and in-kind contributions to increase opportunities for small businesses and minorities.
We are in the fifth year of construction on the CSO, 12 years to go. Councilman Gray and I agree, it is time to take action, but it must be positive and sustainable.
The initial steps I have outlined are constructive strategies. Actions to stop current work and voting against construction projects will not create jobs; it does the opposite and could put the City at risk of significant fines from the state and federal government, or even criminal penalties. This would increase the already high cost of the CSO to ratepayers.
We all have the same goal. We want our small businesses to be successful.
Mayor Jean Stothert