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Mayor Jean Stothert | City of Omaha

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(August 29, 2018)

The 2018 City of Omaha fiscal year is trending toward a year-end surplus at the end of the second quarter.

The projected surplus is smaller than previous years, estimated now at slightly under $200,000.

“A year-end carryover is always important as we plan for future budgets,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “We expect the 2018 carryover to grow in the second half of the year with positive revenue growth and managing our expenses.”

The second quarter report (January-June) released today shows revenue is slightly under budget, however sales tax revenue for the months of May and June, which includes sales tax collected during the College World Series and Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting had not yet been reported by the State of Nebraska. (That information has now been received and shows sales tax revenue is currently approximately $400,000 over budget projections.)

The report also shows most city departments are under budget.  The Fire Department, Human Rights and Relations, Human Resources and Public Works were all over budget at the end of the June.   

2nd Quarter Expense highlights:

  • Omaha Fire - $384,658 over
  • Human Rights and Relations - $105,013 over
  • Human Resources - $12,759 over
  • Public Works - $14,037 over
  • Omaha Police – $563,189 under
  • Planning - $303,356 under
  • Law - $187,833 under
  • City Clerk - $146,456 under
  • Health Care Savings - $2,078,439
  • All other departments are expected to be at or under budget

2nd Quarter Revenue highlights:

  • Rescue squad fees (GEMT) - $4.3 million under
  • Rural Fire District reimbursement - $1.5 million under
  • Utility Occupation taxes - $1.5 million under
  • Sales and Use Tax - $0.9 million under
  • Motor vehicle taxes - $0.7 million over

The expense overrun in the Fire Department is due to call back pay, worker’s compensation and vehicle maintenance; HRR is over budget due to the addition of the Assistant Director position.   

The 2018 budget includes $4 million in federal reimbursement for ambulance fees that will not be paid this year.  In 2017, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 578, the Ground Emergency Medical Transport Act (GEMT), however the State of Nebraska did not implement it.  The bill increased Medicaid reimbursement for ambulance fees which are currently paid at a lower rate than billed by cities. 

“Cities are missing out on millions of dollars the federal government will reimburse as a Certified Public Expenditure” said Finance Director Steve Curtiss. “The State of Nebraska should implement this bill or the Legislature should revise it next year, so Omaha and other cities can be paid for the services provided by our first responders.”

As required by the City Charter, an end-of-year surplus must be carried over to the 2020 budget or used for cash reserve.