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January 23, 2020

Mayor Jean Stothert will ask the Omaha City Council to authorize a transportation bond issue to fund a long-term pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction program. The bond issue will be on the May 2020 ballot.

“Fixing the streets is fundamental to everything else,” said Mayor Stothert. “The condition of our streets is a top priority for me and for our taxpayers. Our streets have been underfunded for at least 50 years. We can stop the deterioration of our infrastructure but it will take all of us to agree it’s worth the expense. Our needs are greater than our revenue.”

Last year, Mayor Stothert consulted with a team of independent engineering experts to evaluate current street infrastructure and estimate the cost to develop the city’s first pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction program.

The evaluation showed the City should spend $75 million annually (5% of the value of the total street infrastructure of $1.5 billion) to resurface 250 lane miles of road.  Currently, the City spends approximately $41 million a year, and resurfaces approximately 125 land miles. This results in an annual shortfall of $34 million.  With the recommended level of funding, every lane mile in Omaha could be resurfaced over the course of its 20-year average lifespan.

A $200 million transportation bond would raise $40 million each year for five years, enough to cover the shortfall. It would require a mill levy increase to pay the bond debt, equivalent to approximately $35 a year for the owner of a $100,000 house. This estimate is based on 2020 financial projections and it is anticipated the increase will be lower.

“A bond issue lets voters make the decision,” said Mayor Stothert.

Other options considered included an increase in the wheel tax, sales tax or property tax. Mayor Stothert will not support a tax increase that does not have voter approval.

There are approximately 5,000 lane miles of street in Omaha. Projects funded with bond revenue will include neighborhood and arterial streets in all seven City Council Districts.  The plan will also include additional funding for unimproved streets.  

THE BOND ISSUE WILL PAY FOR:

Street rehabilitation

Reconstruction and new construction

Residential asphalt resurfacing

Concrete streets and concrete panel replacement

Brick street repair

City budgets for the last ten years show the history of street resurfacing funding from a low of $2.8 million in 2010 to the current budget of $12.5 million.  Mayor Stothert has doubled the resurfacing budget since 2103.

2010: $2.8 million                           2016: $8.7 million                          

2011: $3.9 million                          2017: $10.7 million              

2012: $5.6 million                          2018: $11.7 million                        

2013: $6.6 million                          2019: $12.2 million 

2014: $6.9 million                          2020: $12.5 million

2015:  $7.3 million

 

In the first six months of 2019, the City spent $13.25 million to repair approximately 67,000 potholes.  

“Potholes are a symptom of our aging infrastructure,” said Mayor Stothert. “A long-term funding solution will reduce annual repair costs but we have to make the financial commitment.  Without voter approval, we will continue to prioritize spending on road infrastructure, but we will never catch up and the funding gap will increase.”

The City Council must approve an ordinance to put the bond issue on the May 12 ballot.  The first reading will be on the January 28 agenda, public hearing on February 4 and final reading and vote on February 11.  

In July 2019, Mayor Stothert, City Finance Director Steve Curtiss and city engineers developed “A Road Map to Better Streets”, including an examination of current and past funding and options for increased revenue.  The report has been presented at dozens of public meetings and is available on the city website. https://www.cityofomaha.org/images/pdf/Mayors_Road_Town_Hall-FINAL.pdf

(September 16, 2019) – Mayor Jean Stothert will hold her annual series of Town Hall meetings this fall beginning September 24th.  In the last six years, Mayor Stothert has hosted 46 Town Hall meetings.           

“Town Halls give taxpayers the opportunity to learn about important city issues, offer input and ask questions,” said Mayor Stothert.  “This year, we will be talking a lot about developing a long-term strategy to improve and maintain our roads and the transition to the new trash collection system in 2021.  It’s so important to meet people personally so we can work together on issues that affect all of us.”

 

SEPTEMBER 24 -  City Council District 2                                                                                       

Adams Park Community Center                                      

3230 John A Creighton Blvd                                                            

6:00-7:30pm                                                               

                                                           

SEPTEMBER 30 - City Council District 6                                               

Montclair Community Center                                    

2304 S. 135 Avenue                                                         

6:00-7:30pm                                                               

           

OCTOBER 3 - City Council District 4                                                                                                       

Our Lady of Guadalupe Hall                                        

23rd & O                                                                           

6:00-7:30pm

                                                                       

OCTOBER 7 - City Council District 1           

Laura Dodge Elementary School

3520 Maplewood Blvd

6:00-7:30pm

 

OCTOBER 22 - City Council District 7

Sunny Slope Elementary School

10828 Old Maple Road

6:00-7:30pm        

 

NOVEMBER 18 - City Council District 3

Subby Anzaldo Columbus Park Community Center

1515 S. 24th Street

6:00-7:30pm        

 

NOVEMBER 21 - City Council District 5

Sandoz Elementary School

5959 Oak Hills Drive

6:45-8:00pm        

(May 9, 2019)

Mayor Jean Stothert will propose an annexation package that will increase the city’s population and tax base.

After the annual evaluation of the City’s 132 SIDs, the financial analysis shows four SIDs and two adjacent areas are good candidates for annexation.

Mayor Stothert’s 2019 annexation goals are consistent with previous years; the City’s ability to provide police and fire protection, eliminate islands that are already surrounded by the city, and annexation must be revenue positive for the city over the next ten years.

The City’s population will increase by approximately 955 based on 2010 Census data.

After annexation, property taxes in the four SIDs will decrease. The average reduction is $475 per $100,000 valuation.  

 Over the next ten years, projections show the City will collect an estimated $9.6 million in revenue:

  • $8,456,976 property tax revenue
  • $187,872 sales tax
  • $252,000  wheel tax
  • $782,000  street and highway funds    

The City will pay off $3.4 million in debt owed by the SIDs, and the approximate cost of city services is $4.9 million.  After expenses, the actual revenue is approximately $2.3 million.

 “Omaha must continue to grow and remain competitive as one of the largest Midwest cities,” said Mayor Stothert. “Continued, managed growth is important to attract new business and jobs. It has a positive impact on our bond ratings, and the additional revenue allows us to continue investing in our top priorities, public safety and street repair and improvements.” 

The Omaha Fire Department already provides fire protection and emergency medical service to all SIDs and adjacent areas and the volume of 911 calls is low. Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and Fire Chief Dan Olsen have both approved the annexation package.

There are no unimproved streets in any of the SIDs. One property owner has greenbelt status.

Home and business owners are receiving annexation information in the mail this week.

The proposal now goes to the Omaha Planning Board and City Council for approval.

The Planning Board will consider the package on June 5, it will go to the City Council for first reading on June 18. The public hearing is scheduled June 25. 

If passed, the annexation will be effective July 31.

An Open House for residents and business owners will be held Thursday May 23, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Saddlebrook Community Center, 14850 Laurel Avenue. Mayor Stothert will provide an overview of the annexation package.  City departments will present information and answer questions.

The proposed SIDs to be annexed are all within City Council Districts 6 and 7.  

Stone Creek Plaza                                                   SID 443

The Willows and adjacent areas                              SID 496

Ranch View Estates and adjacent areas                 SID 467                              

Ranch View Estates 3                                              SID 556