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Mayor Jean Stothert | City of Omaha

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(June 2, 2016)

For the third consecutive year, the City of Omaha ended the 2015 fiscal year with a budget surplus.  The year-end summary shows a $8.6 million General Fund surplus.  

Revenue highlights of the year-end report include:

  • Sales tax revenue:  $4.2 million over budget
  • Motor vehicle tax revenue:  $1.4 million over budget
  • Restaurant tax:  $0.3 million over budget (Total budgeted:  $29,167,606  million,  total collected:  $29, 448,765)
  • Property tax revenue: $0.4 million under budget (Property valuations set by Douglas County Assessor remained relatively flat year to year.)
  • Utility occupation  taxes:  $2.0 million under budget  (Telephone Occupation Tax revenue was $1.9 million lower than projected, due to continuing reductions in telephone landline use.)  

For the first time in many years, the Omaha Fire Department ended the year almost $1 million under budget.  Former Chief Bernie Kanger’s effective budget management will allow the department to put a new rig into service, buy new equipment and add new firefighters.

All other City departments were also under budget except Parks, Recreation and Public Property,  and Human Rights and Relations. In 2015, Mayor Jean Stothert hired a full-time Human Rights and Relations Director and approved an increase in HR & R department staffing, leading the department to a budget overage. 

In 2015, the Parks Department had unanticipated maintenance and repair expenses at numerous City pools, including emergency repairs at Elmwood pool which delayed opening for nearly a month,  additional  part-time and overtime hours including staffing new summer children's camps at City parks and a significant increase in workers’ compensation claims.

Expense highlights of the 2015 report:

  • Omaha Fire Department $ 900,000  under budget
  • Omaha Police Department: $90,080 under budget
  • Parks Department: $1.1 million over budget
  • Human Rights and Relations  $118,000 over budget 
  • Retiree  Benefits, Other Accounts:  $5.5 million under budget 

The City’s cash reserve and contingency funds will each be increased by $250,000 with surplus funds.  $1.65 million will be spent in 2017 on a new payroll system and Human Resources software. “New technology creates efficiencies, which can save money for the taxpayers,” said Finance Director Steve Curtiss. “Our current HRIS system, which supports the HR department and services to City employees  is more than 30 years old and needs to be replaced.”

The remainder of the 2015 surplus will be included in the 2017 General Fund budget, as required by the City Charter.   

“Managing the budget is one of my top priorities. We set  goals to  stop rampant overspending in city departments and end each year with a strong cash balance. We are achieving these goals,” said Mayor Stothert. “Taxpayers can expect this to continue as we develop spending priorities for the 2017 City budget.”

The 2017 City budget proposal will include additional personnel in the Public Works department for street repair and snow removal,  an increase in funding for street resurfacing, and for the fourth consecutive year, more police officers.

 Mayor Stothert will deliver the proposed budget to the Omaha City Council on July 19th.