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Mayor Jean Stothert | City of Omaha

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(July 17, 2018) – Mayor Jean Stothert presented a $400 million General Fund budget to the Omaha City Council Tuesday, maintaining a low property tax rate and increasing funding for public safety, street repair and the City’s savings accounts.

The budget is a 3.5% increase over 2018.

Expense Highlights:

  • Increase the number of police officers from 880 to 900 (Two more officers will be added when the annexation package is approved to be assigned as School Resource Officers at Millard West High School)
  • Expenses associated with opening of the 5th police precinct scheduled for July 2019
  • Increase 911 budget from $6 million to $6.7 million for additional dispatchers and call-takers
  • Purchase of 36 SUVs for Omaha Police
  • $500,000 increase to street resurfacing budget to $12.3 million ($11.8 budgeted for 2018)
  • $600,000 budgeted for brick street repair
  • Increase the number of Public Works employees for street and sewer maintenance divisions for snow removal, street repair, maintenance of medians and inspection and maintenance of sewer systems
  • Maintain demolition budget at $1.1 million
  • Increase Omaha Library Public Library total budget to $16.1 million (2.4% increase)
  • 9 ½% increase in health care costs for current employees and retirees
  • $6.6 million budgeted for qualifying community service programs that support the Mayor’s strategic priorities including job training and workforce development, public safety, economic development and neighborhood improvement

The 2019 recommended budget maintains the current property tax levy of 47.922 cents per $100 valuation.

“Any chance we get to lower the tax burden, we’ll do it,” said Mayor Stothert. “Budgets are about priorities and I really want to focus on public safety and roads.  We are responding to what citizens tell us is most important.”

Revenue Forecast Highlights:

  • Estimated property tax revenue increase 4.% to $164.9 million
  • Estimated sales tax revenue increase 5.28% to $168.2 million
  • Estimated restaurant tax increase 2.2% to $33.9 million
  • 2017 budget carryover $11,347,628

The sales tax estimate includes $1 million in new sales tax collected from online purchases, following the recent decision from the United States Supreme Court that online retailers may be required to collect sales tax and assuming the State of Nebraska will adopt the change.

Mayor Stothert also presented the recommended 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Plan, which includes nearly $2 billion in capital projects planned for the next six years.

Highlights of the CIP include:

  • $50 million over 3 years (2019, 2020, 2021) for redevelopment of the Gene Leahy Mall, Heartland of America Park and Lewis and Clark Landing.
  • $15 million - new southwest Omaha public library
  • $ 20 million - replace existing downtown library
  • $9.6 million - 5th police precinct in Elkhorn
  • $10 million - replace two fire stations (Station 31 at 25th & L and Station 53 at 80th & Dodge)
  • Funding for unimproved Streets ($820,000, including $300,000 for unimproved streets in high   poverty areas-CIP funding is contingent on city council approval of a new cost-sharing policy)
  • $328 million in transportation projects including:

  Reconstruction of 156th Street from Pepperwood to Corby Street,

  26th & Q Street bridge replacement

  108th Street Reconstruction Q Street to Madison Street

  

“Our transparent and strategic approach to budgeting has resulted in five years of significant year-end balances, high savings account reserves, lower property tax rates, and efficiencies in how we manage resources,” said Mayor Stothert.  “Omaha’s well-managed finances will allow us to meet pressing  needs in the year ahead with the goal of making Omaha stronger and better.”

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the budget on July 31 at 6:30pm in the Legislative Chambers.