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Mayor Jean Stothert | City of Omaha

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(May 25, 2017)

Mayor Jean Stothert has named Dave Fanslau Planning Director.   

Fanslau was hired by the Planning Department in 1989. He has held numerous positions within the Department and was promoted to Assistant Director for Urban Planning in 2013, responsible for the daily operations of the urban design, current planning and long-range planning sections. He works with developers and the Planning Board as projects move through the approval process, including major developments such as the Capital District, The Lumberyard in Millard, the Farm and Avenue One in west Omaha and many commercial and residential in-fill projects. 

As a division manager, he participated in a review of the Planning department’s structure, efficiency, and public perception, and implemented changes to improve technology and customer service.

“Partnerships and relationships with the people we do business with are very important,” said Fanslau. “I’m proud of how we do business.  A citizen who calls us might deal with City Hall only once, so we better make it the best experience we can.”

He will assist Mayor Stothert with the development of the new Neighborhood Planning Division and the selection of the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Development Services. He will oversee the 125 employees in the Planning department.

“Dave is a solution driven manager and knows how to get things done,” said Mayor Stothert.  “He shares my expectations for excellent customer service.”

Fanslau is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

He replaces James Thele, who will retire June 2nd after a 26-year career with the City of Omaha.

(May 25, 2017)

“Of all the boards and commissions I appoint, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory is one of my favorites,” Mayor Jean Stothert said as she prepared to review videos created by the student commissioners.

The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission provides an opportunity for youth to acquire a greater knowledge and appreciation for the American political system through active participation. It also serves as a platform for the Mayor to hear the perspective of students by working directly with youth leaders. MYAC provides educational opportunities through community projects, encouraging the development of future community leaders, and promoting community pride and personal self-esteem.

Mayor Stothert created the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission (MYAC) in 2013 by Executive Order. The commission runs concurrent with the academic school year, September through May. The 2016-2017 MYAC is composed of 58 juniors and seniors from metro area high schools; Omaha Public Schools, Millard Public Schools, Elkhorn Public Schools, Omaha Catholic Schools, Concordia Lutheran Schools of Omaha, and Brownell Talbot.

Each year, Mayor Stothert and her staff create an interesting and engaging project for the MYAC.  This year’s project taught students about the importance of public-private partnerships.

Students worked closely with ten nonprofit organizations that receive funding from the City of Omaha; Keep Omaha Beautiful, City Sprouts, Nebraska Humane Society, Police Athletics for Community Engagement (PACE), Victory Boxing, Building Healthy Futures, Siena Francis House, Completely Kids, Women’s Center for Advancement, and ReConnect.

Each nonprofit met with MYAC and discussed their mission, programming, and how city funds are used within their organization. The students were then able to form their own groups based on their passions and interests. In those groups, they created videos to be shared during Omaha Gives, Omaha’s annual “giving holiday”.

To best understand the nonprofit and gather photos and film, commission members volunteered their time with the organizations. They interacted with the people (or animals) serviced by the organization and staff members to develop an accurate and empowering video.

Each group had a different goal. Some groups wanted the emphasis to be on fundraising, while others took an educational approach, educating the public about the importance of services offered by the organization and those they serve.

“The commissioners did an excellent job displaying how public-private partnerships work together,” Mayor Stothert said, “We cannot achieve our goals alone, we must work together.”

Omaha Gives is a 24-hour charitable challenge that will run from midnight to midnight on May 24th. The giving day is organized by the Omaha Community Foundation to grow philanthropy in Douglas, Sarpy, and Pottawattamie counties. The minimum donation is $10 and there is no maximum donation amount. Sponsors provide prizes and challenge funds make each dollar go further while keeping the momentum alive all day long.  

Last year, Omaha Gives raised $8.9 million for 789 area nonprofits. 

 

To view the Public Service Announcements,  click on these links:

 
 
 
 

 

 

(May 23, 2017)

A revised policy to repair, resurface and replace substandard streets recommends a series of options for property owners including a guaranteed cost-sharing plan with the City of Omaha.

The draft policy, developed with input from a Citizen’s Advisory Committee, will go to the City Council for approval.

The primary goals of the committee were to determine a cost-sharing method, considerations for high poverty areas, selection and prioritization of street project locations, and development of a clear process of communication between the City and neighborhoods. 

“After a thorough review and with input from the advisory group, we have developed a policy that ends the long standing practice of passing the total cost of these improvements on to property owners,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. 

The recommended policy includes:

  • The City will pay 50% of the cost for a Street Improvement District (SID).  The property owners will be assessed for the remaining 50%.  A Street Improvement District is formed to build a concrete street, with curbs, gutters and sewers that meet current standards.  After completed, the City assumes permanent responsibility for the street.
  • The City will pay 25% of the cost for a Road Maintenance District (RMD), property owners will be assessed the remaining 75%.  A Road Maintenance District is formed to resurface the current street with asphalt.  Asphalt is considered “non-standard”, this improvement does not include sewers.  Neighborhoods that form an RMD can obtain shared financing from the City only once. 

           (The 50-50 cost-sharing for concrete streets in intended to be an incentive for neighborhoods to choose a permanent, city standard street.)

  • The City will offer additional financial assistance in low-income neighborhoods. 
  • Projects will be selected and scheduled on a priority basis.  The highest priority will be given to streets that were reclaimed without notice to the neighbors and prior to Mayor Stothert’s moratorium on this practice.  All other streets will be prioritized based on PASER ratings and connectivity. 
  • The Public Works Department will no longer reclaim unimproved streets. However, that policy can be waived if the majority of property owners on an unimproved street request reclaiming.

In addition, LB 159, sponsored by Senator John McCollister, passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, provides additional assistance to property owners in a RMD or SID by extending the payback period for the assessment. 

The City of Omaha has approximately 5,000 lane miles of streets, about 300 are considered unimproved. The estimated cost to improve all unimproved streets is $300 million. A significant property tax increase would be needed if the City paid the entire cost.

The 2017-2022 Capital Improvement Plan includes $6.8 million for improvement districts.  (CIP page 32, project 512)

There are currently 7 petitions in progress; 2 RMDs and 5 SIDs.  Two additional petitions are expected to be returned soon, 15 new petitions have been checked out.

"I appreciate the work of our Citizen Advisory Group. They represented neighborhoods across the city and provided important input," said Mayor Stothert.

The advisory group members are:

Mr. Dean Holdsworth, a resident of the Rockbrook neighborhood which created a Road Maintenance District.

Julie Smith, Program Manager-One Omaha

Precious McKesson, North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance

Mr. John Fullencamp,  Fullencamp, Doyle & Jobeun

State Senator John McCollister

Public Works Director Bob Stubbe and Assistant Director for Transportation Todd Pfitzer  represented Public Works, Cassie Paben, Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development represented the Mayor's office and Councilman Franklin Thompson represented the Omaha City Council.  Mary Baluff facilitated the advisory committee.

(May 19, 2017)

A class of 19 recruits graduated Friday from the Omaha Fire Department training academy  This is the second class hired and trained in the last 18 months.

Mayor Jean Stothert administered the oath to the recruits and congratulated them for successfully completing the program.

“All of you understand and accept the risks and rewards of public service, that’s why you are here,” said Mayor Stothert. ”The Omaha Fire Department is dedicated to keeping our citizens and our city safe. We set high standards of fairness, respect, ethics, honor and transparency.  These are the expectations of the citizens you serve.”

Class Valedictorian Jacob Lee, an Omaha native and father of three said, “There is no better job in the world and no place I would rather do it.”

The recruits will be assigned at fire stations for field training. 

Fire Chief Dan Olsen congratulated the class for setting a high bar for academic achievement and physical training. “I have one more challenge for this class as they begin their field training, have a sense of appreciation for what the citizens of Omaha expect from us.”

Another recruit class will be selected later this year, more than 1,000 applications have been received.

(May 4, 2017)

Four new fire trucks will be in service next week, replacing older, existing equipment.  Two trucks will be assigned in North Omaha, one downtown and one in south Omaha.

Mayor Jean Stothert authorized the purchase in 2016, approved by the Omaha City Council and delivered two weeks ago.

Following the installation of communications equipment, the trucks will be ready for service.  The total purchase price of each truck is approximately $500,000.  These trucks are in addition to three other new engines delivered in 2016.

The Fire Department is also completing the replacement of the entire fleet of Battalion Chief vehicles. Five went into service in 2016, the remaining three are going into service this week. The total purchase price for the eight Chevrolet Tahoes is approximately $288,000.  

In addition to these upgrades, bids are currently out for four new medic units to be purchased and delivered in early 2018. This brings the number of new medic units to nine since 2014. 

“Upgrading equipment, technology and staffing for the Omaha Fire Department has been a priority of our administration,” said Mayor Stothert.  “In an emergency, firefighters need the best tools possible.”

On May 19, 19 new firefighters will graduate from the training academy; the second recruit graduation in a year, for a total sworn staff of 652.

The Omaha Fire Department has also received a $2.4 million Assistance to Firefighter Grant to purchase new portable radios.  The 493 radios purchased with this grant will be distributed to OFD and seven other Douglas County regional fire departments in June.    Previous grants (2013-2016) have paid for replacement of all Jaws of Life equipment, a bariatric ambulance, a bilingual community safety specialist, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

The 2017 Omaha Fire Department budget is $100 million.

Previous budgets:

2013: $83.8 million

2014: $91.5 million

2015: $93.7 million

2016: $99.1 million

(May 2, 2017)

Mayor Jean Stothert will increase the 2017 street repair and resurfacing budget by $5 million.  The additional funds became available in the last ten days following the payment of retroactive salary increases to Omaha police officers.

“Because I negotiated a police contract that results in millions of dollars in savings for the taxpayers, the action I am announcing today will enable the city to repair and resurface an additional 50 lane miles of streets,” she said. 

In January, Mayor Stothert announced an agreement with the Omaha Police Officers’ Association that included retroactive salary and pension increases for 2016 and 2017. On April 21, the City paid $2.2 million in back pay, which was less than originally anticipated, leaving a surplus in the account.   

The previous contract with OPOA expired in 2013.  Since then the city had set aside money into the Wage Adjustment Account to cover pay and related pension expenses that would be required under a new contract.  https://mayors-office.cityofomaha.org/city-news/274-breakthrough-leads-to-agreement-with-omaha-police-union

“The breakthrough in negotiations with the Omaha Police Officers Association makes it possible for me to increase our commitment to street repair and resurfacing.  I want to thank John Wells, OPOA president, for his leadership and willingness to bring the matter to settlement,” said Mayor Stothert. 

The additional $5 million for street repair and resurfacing builds on the $11.2 million already committed to street resurfacing in the 2017 budget.  The mayor announced 41 locations for street resurfacing last month.  https://mayors-office.cityofomaha.org/city-news/290-41-street-resurfacing-projects-planned-for-2017-construction-season

The Public Works Department will begin evaluating additional repair and resurfacing projects and determine the timeline. 

Since taking office, Mayor Stothert has overseen the resurfacing of 406 lane miles in Omaha at a cost of $44.6 million.  

(May 1, 2017)

Omaha, NE-The U.S. Olympic Swim Trials will return to Omaha in 2020 for the fourth year. 

USA Swimming Interim Chief Executive Officer Mike Unger made the announcement Monday at the CenturyLink Center, calling Omaha the perfect city for the event.  “USA Swimming has had great success in the City of Omaha,” said Unger. “We could never have predicted the success we have had at the CenturyLink Center and in Omaha.”

The trials have been held in Omaha in 2008, 2012 and 2016. The 2020 trials are scheduled June 21-28, with eight nights of live television coverage.

“The U.S. Olympic Trials is one of the premier sporting events in the country. It’s a gold medal event for Omaha and a huge economic win for the city,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “The swimmers, coaches, families and fans can once again expect a big splash to welcome them back to Omaha. You can count on all of us for another successful event in 2020.”

In 2016, the economic impact to Omaha was estimated at $74 million.

The Omaha Sports Commission, the City of Omaha, and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) have worked for months to bring the trials back to Omaha, the USA Swimming Board of Directors voted to return to Omaha.

Omaha Sports Commission Chairman Chris Kircher said, We would not be making this announcement today without the support of Mayor Stothert and the City of Omaha, it was critical to bringing the trials here.”

Last year, the athletes that qualified for the Olympics went on to win 95 medals.  “Where these athletes get their exposure is right here in Omaha,” said Unger.

Thank you to USA Swimming, to the Omaha Sports Commission, MECA and everyone on our city team for working so hard to bring the trials back to Omaha. We will once again have the opportunity to show a worldwide audience that Omaha is a great city to live, visit and achieve your dreams,” said Mayor Stothert.

 

   

(April 26, 2017)

Omaha, NE – Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer presented neighborhood grants to 27 neighborhood associations and organizations on Wednesday; many for projects to address neighborhood safety.

“The citizens believe public safety is our primary responsibility, that’s why it’s our top priority too,” said Mayor Stothert.  “By providing grants to organizations that partner with and support the Omaha Police Department, we are creating important partnerships that keep our neighborhoods safe.”

Neighborhood grants are awarded each spring to qualifying organizations.  To be eligible, the association must be registered and listed in the City of Omaha Neighborhood Association Directory.  This year, 42 eligible grant applications were received, the 27 organizations selected will receive funding for a total of $74,964. The projects include park and playground improvements, landscaping and beautification and public safety.

“The Omaha Police Department takes great pride in the relationships we have built with all of our community and neighborhood partners,” said Chief Todd Schmaderer.  “The neighborhood grants program empowers citizens to actively work with us so we can provide the best police services possible.”  

Mayor Stothert also provided $5,000 for registrations for the Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) Conference in May.  For the first time, the national conference will be held in Omaha. Several neighborhoods will also receive grants for activities that support the conference.

Grant applications are reviewed by a committee and recommended to the Mayor.  The committee includes representatives from the Planning, Parks, Public Works and Police Departments, the City of Omaha grants team and Julie Smith, One Omaha Program Manager.

GRANT AWARDS:

Omaha Coalition of Citizen Patrols - $4,904  Purchase 226 new OCCP street signs with redesigned logo

Benson Gardens Neighborhood Association - $252  Vehicle Sign for Omaha Coalition of Citizen Patrols

Original Montclair Neighborhood Association - $594  Purchase OCCP street signs, vehicle signs, and patrol equipment

Cherry Hills Homeowners Association - $333  Omaha Coalition of Citizen Patrols street signs, printing supplies for OCCP and OPD information

Montclair West/Kingswood Citizens Patrol - $594  Citizen Patrol street signs, car signs, and patrol equipment

Keystone Community Task Force - $1,500  Neighborhood carnival to support the neighborhood association and citizen patrol

Dundee-Memorial Park Association - $2,300  Motion detection cameras for entrances to the pedestrian tunnel at 51st & Dodge to prevent vandalism

North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance - $1,500  Resident survey on crime, neighborhood involvement, and improvements.  Block party

Westgate Area Neighborhood Association - $4,075 Mural at Pipal Park to prevent graffiti

Bemis Park Neighborhood Association - $2,050 Benches and dog waste stations at Bemis Park

Blackstone Neighborhood Association - $1,680 NUSA Conference Support  planters, soil, and bushes for Neighborhood Pride Tour

InCommon Community Development - $3,025  Nusa Conference Support Neighborhood Pride Tour maps, sidewalk stencils, chalk paint and graphic design

Long School Neighborhood Association - $2,012 NUSA Conference Support  Neighborhood Pride tour brochures, landmark signs, photographer and gam

City Sprouts - $5,000  Wages for two summer internships for youth

E.R. Danner/Kountze Park Neighborhood Association - $5,000  ADA certified permeable pavement path through green space

Elmwood Park Neighborhood Association -$5,000  Revitalization of Howard Hill at 71st & Howard

Field Club Homeowners League - $5,000 Woolworth Avenue Boulevard green island improvements

Hartman Avenue Neighborhood Association - $5,000 Picnic tables and grills for Norwick Park

Highland Park/Seven Pines Homeowners Association - $1,960  Tree Removal at the Seven Pines entrance

Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association -$2,250  Solar panels for the Clarkson Park gazebo to provide power at park events

Metcalfe Harrison Neighborhood Association - $5,000  Install permanent power to Metcalfe Park

Neighborhood Action and Facts Association - $1,340  Installation of a flagpole, stage and fire pit at the community garden

Park East Neighborhood Association - $1,300  Conversion of a vacant lot at 24th & St. Mary’s Avenue into a community garden

Prairie Lane Neighborhood Association - $5,000  Resurface and color coat pickleball and tennis courts at Prairie Lane Courts

Royalwood Homeowners Association -$495  Install hanging flower baskets in the neighborhood

South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance - $5,000  The Croatian Mural Project at 36th & “W” and the Nebraska Mural Project at 36th & Q

Sunny Slope/Sunny View Neighborhood Association - $2,800  Installation of park benches

(April 21, 2017)

Omaha, NE – Forty-one street resurfacing locations have been identified for the 2017 road construction season. The estimated total project cost is $13 million dollars which also includes construction of ADA ramps and curbs. 

The schedule includes 26 residential projects and 15 major street projects  for a total of 81.43 lane miles.  Funding for these projects comes from multiple sources including gas tax, vehicle registration fees, general obligation bonds and sewer revenue.  

The residential work is scheduled to begin in June following City Council approval of project bids, the major projects were approved by the Omaha City Council in January and will start in June and July.

All projects are selected based on traffic volume, history of maintenance and related costs, current or upcoming utility work, and the condition of the street using the PASER (Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating) rating system.  PASER is a national average developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Transportation Information Center.  PASER uses a 1-10 scale to rate the street condition, 1=failed, 10=excellent.  The average PASER rating is 7.8 for major, secondary and connector streets in Omaha.  Streets with a PASER rating of 4 or lower are prioritized for resurfacing.

In addition to asphalt resurfacing, bids have been received for repair of seven brick streets at a cost of approximately $400,000.  Addition locations will be evaluated and added to reach the budgeted amount of $500,000 for brick street repair.

Concrete panel replacements are also planned for approximately $1 million or more.

“Street repair is an imperative city service to taxpayers and to me; it’s one of my top priorities,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “We are increasing the budget every year to improve both neighborhood and main streets. We are making progress and we are committed to improving our infrastructure.”

In addition, the citizen advisory group created by Mayor Stothert to review the policies for repairing unimproved streets has completed its recommendations for a new city policy which will be drafted by the Public Works Department.

The primary goals of the committee were to determine a cost-sharing method for unimproved street repair, considerations for high poverty areas, selection and prioritization of street project locations, and development of a clear process of communication between the City and neighborhoods that participate in a Street Improvement District or a Road Maintenance District. 

The new policy will be reviewed by Mayor Stothert and the Omaha City Council next month.    

(April 20, 2017)

The Omaha Planning Board will review the preliminary plat application for the Civic Auditorium site at its May meeting.

Tetrad Property Group has submitted plans for the $200 million dollar mixed-use development at 17th and Capitol including a civic component, the proposed site for a new downtown public library.  Total square footage of the development is approximately 740,000 square feet.

“Our vision has always been a high quality, mixed-use development on this prime downtown real estate.  We’re enthusiastic about TPG’s plan,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “This is an excellent location for a new, modern library that meets the needs of library customers.  We are actively working with the developer and the library director.”

In 2014, Mayor Stothert selected TPG to redevelop the site.  Tetrad was one of two companies that responded to a Request for Proposals.

“One of the reasons we selected TPG was their commitment to the downtown neighborhood.  They consulted with residents, business owners and employees in the area to understand what is most needed and desired.  TPG’s plan incorporates input from those stakeholders,” said Mayor Stothert.

“The proposal submitted to the Planning Board reflects a mixed-use project for the site,” said TPG CEO Zach Wiegert. “We envision retail, grocery, fitness, civic buildings, office and residential uses for the property. These projections are based on new market studies and informal research conducted in conversations with neighboring property owners.”

Demolition of the Civic Auditorium has been completed.  Once fill dirt is spread over the site, it will be shovel ready.

Approval of the preliminary plat is the first of several approvals needed.   

Tetrad’s projects include the Buffett Cancer Center under construction at the Nebraska Medical Center, the Blue Cross Blue Shield corporate headquarters at Ak-Sar-Ben Village and the Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln.  

The Planning board agenda will be available Monday at this link: https://planning.cityofomaha.org/boards/planning-board