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Mayor Jean Stothert | City of Omaha

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(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

(April 17, 2017)

This is the final week of the Waste Management pilot program testing automated solid waste and recyclable collections.

The pilot started in November 2016 and included 2,500 residential customers.  Homeowners in the pilot neighborhoods should put both carts out on the regular collection day; the carts will be picked up the same day.

At the conclusion of the pilot, all customers will return to using 32-gallon cans for trash, green bins for recycling and 40-gallon brown paper yard bags or 32-gallon cans for yard waste.  Yard waste and garbage must be separated.

This summer, a series of public meetings will be scheduled to solicit input to continue preparations for the city’s next solid waste contract.

Also this week, Waste Management will collect yard waste separately in some Omaha neighborhoods. The gradual return of separate collections will continue as Waste Management prepares for citywide separate yard waste collections in May.

“I expect Waste Management to provide separate yard waste collections this year and the company is gearing up to do that,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “Our current contract with Waste Management allows for unlimited yard waste at every home. Our goal is to complete daily collections on time, regardless of volume especially in the spring and early summer.” 

For the last two summers, Mayor Stothert allowed Waste Management to co-collect yard waste and trash to prevent lengthy collection delays that resulted in complaints from homeowners.  Like many companies, Waste Management has experienced a shortage of CDL-licensed drivers.

Residents who experience missed collections of trash, yard waste or recyclables can contact the Mayor’s Hotline at 402-444—5555 or the Solid Waste Helpline, 402-444-5238 after 7:00 p.m.  

*see wasteline.org for more information about preparing yard waste for curbside collection

(April 3, 2017)

Omaha, NE –  The City of Omaha website now offers a detailed accounting of payments made to city vendors.

The city and county IT departments initiated the project in November 2015, to develop identical public reports for both Douglas County and the City of Omaha.  The City’s “checkbook” appears on the city finance department’s page. The link displays both the City and County payment records for all of 2016.  (https://douglasomahatechnologycommissionne.opengov.com/data#/13512/query=F49C60F267E7718D8C2F7A34AD8595DC).

“We pay our bills with taxpayer money and you deserve to know how your money is spent,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “Transparency is your right and our responsibility.  This is another step to make government records easy to access.”

The reports can be searched by date, invoice number, the payee and description of the account, including street repair and resurfacing contracts, job training and workforce development providers, bond payments, health insurance payments, neighborhood grants and community service funds, TIF payments, and property demolition.  More than 50 types of accounts can be searched totaling $503,621,214,77 in 2016.  The funds are paid from all funds, including the General Fund.

A few legal-related accounts are not displayed due to confidentiality.

This month, payment records for January and February of 2017 will be added; new reports will then be added automatically each month. 

“DOTComm’s technical team did an excellent job designing and launching a format that is easy to navigate for all users,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. 

Many additional financial documents and reports are already on the city’s website, including the city budgets (2005-2017), audited financial statements (2005-2015), and Capital Improvement Plans (2009-2021). 

Over the last three years, every page of the city’s website (cityofomaha.org) has been redesigned to provide accurate information, resources and provide a direct link to city departments and the mayor’s office.

  

(March 31, 2017)

Omaha, NE – Heroic rescues, gang investigations, and suspect arrests.   Omaha Police officers nominated ten of their fellow officers for the 2017 Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year Award for excellent service to the community.

Crime Stoppers presented the award to Detective Ryan Templeton for solving a series of burglaries and attempted burglaries that resulted in 11 federal indictments. Templeton worked with a multi-state, multi-agency task force to solve the case that included 50 ATM machines, stolen, pried open for the cash and dumped in the woods.  “It’s a great honor to be nominated, even more so to win,” said Templeton.

“Even though we are here today to recognize a few, every Omaha Police officer shares these awards,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “You support each other, learn from each other and set an example we can all be proud of.”

The 2017 nominees were Detective Jordan Brandt, nominated for talking a standoff suspect into surrendering and rescuing an infant; Detectives Michael Curd and Vaughn Cotton for arresting s suspect targeting midtown businesses; Detective Jonathan Fraley, a former United States Marine Corps diver who recovered the bodies of a child, a father and a fisherman from local lakes and rivers, bringing closure their families; Detective James Holtmeyer, a gang unit officer who investigated the East Omaha Bloods and east Omaha Crips, arresting numerous gang officers; Detective Brendan O’Flynn, a member of the gang unit and swat team.  O’Flynn saved a suicidal woman who had set her home on fire; Detectives Tiffany Korth and Matthew Worm, for investigating a series of robberies and carjackings; and Sgt. Tina Jennum,  who lead the department to using an innovative system to track pawn shop transactions.

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer thanked the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors for its support of the Omaha Police Department.  In 2016, Crime Stoppers paid out $212,000 in reward money, a record high. “I am extremely impressed with our community for assisting the Omaha Police Department,” said Schmaderer.  “I am very proud of our officers and detectives, truly your work makes Omaha a better place. We will continue to serve with respect, professionalism and transparency.”  

Crime Stoppers was established in 1992.  Mayor Stothert described it as part of the police department’s strategy to keep the city safe.

“We are committed, focused and determined. Committed to providing the resources it takes for each of you to keep your pledge to protect and serve, focused on community policing and crime-fighting strategies to address violent crime,  and determined to work together with our community partners, to reach our common goals.”

The Officer of the year Award has been presented each year since 1991.

(March 17, 2017)

For 35 years, Omaha neighborhood associations have partnered with the City of Omaha and Keep Omaha Beautiful to help homeowners with that annul spring ritual; spring cleaning. For five consecutive Saturdays beginning April 22nd, 76 cleanup sites will be open for free disposal of things that aren't collected during normal curbside trash and recyclable collections. Volunteers from more than 100 neighborhood associations will assist with the cleanup.

"This event contributes to the overall quality of life in Omaha. It takes all of us working together to maintain our neighborhoods, parks and public spaces," said Mayor Jean Stothert. "The spring cleanup sends the message that we all want our city to be clean and safe, and those things do go hand-in-hand."

In 2016, 1,200 tons of unwanted household items were collected during the cleanup and taken to the landfill, 109 tons of appliances and tires were recycled. 

For the first time this year, Under the Sink will open for extended hours (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) on the cleanup dates and appointments will not be necessary.  Under the Sink is located at 4001 South 120th Street and accepts household hazardous waste  including paint, oil, pesticides and other chemicals.  For more information go to http://www.underthesink.org.

Other useful information about the 2017 Spring Cleanup:

Omaha Spring Clean Up Additional Details

  • Dates of all 2017 Spring Clean Up events are as follows: April 22, April 29, May 6, May 13, and May 20.
  • Appliances, tires, and lead-acid batteries are considered items that require "special handling" so they are not collected at all Spring Clean Up sites. However, each Saturday, there will be a designated site that will accept these "special" items. Call the hotline or check the map on the website for locations of these designated sites.
  • The Spring Clean Up program also offers the opportunity to dispose of large tree limbs and brush that would be difficult to dispose of using the City's weekly yardwaste collection. Each cleanup site will have vouchers available that will cover the disposal cost at an off-site location valid for that day only. The two sites are River City Recycling (60th & Harrison) or the Douglas County Landfill (Highway 36 & 216th Street).
  • Some neighborhood associations will be providing opportunities for recycling (e.g., metals and electronics) as well as opportunities to donate items to local charities for reuse (e.g., furniture, bicycles, and building materials that are in good condition).
  • Omaha residents do not have to be a member of a given neighborhood association to participate. They can take advantage of any dates or locations during the April 22 to May 20 time frame. Please note that residents are responsible for transporting and unloading their own items at a Spring Clean Up site.
  • For additional questions or concerns, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Examples of Accepted/Common Items (NOT a comprehensive list)

  • Furniture (couches, chairs, mattresses, etc.)
  • Carpet
  • Auto parts
  • Tires and lead-acid batteries (at designated locations)
  • Appliances (at designated locations)
  • Swing sets
  • Bicycles and tricycles
  • Lumber
  • Drywall
  • Empty cans, pails, and buckets
  • Railroad Ties must be cut into 1 foot pieces for disposal (no site will accept full-size railroad ties)

Prohibited Items (this is not a comprehensive list)

  • Rocks and concrete
  • Household garbage (putrescible waste) – put out with your normal trash collection.
  • Dead animals, fecal material, and animal bedding
  • Full-size railroad ties — The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has published a guide for disposal. To view the guide, click here. Contact the NDEQ for additional information at (877) 253-2603.
  • Household Hazardous wastes including, but not limited to: 
    Visit www.underthesink.org for proper disposal information
    • Auto fluids (gas, oil, grease, and anti-freeze)
    • Paint and Turpentine
    • Lawn chemicals

(March 8, 2017)

Omaha, NE – Budget projections show the 2016 fiscal year will end with a General Fund surplus over $9 million and every city department is expected to be at or under budget.  A budget surplus has been reported in each of the last four years.

“Managing the budget for taxpayers is my responsibility from the first day of the year to the last,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “We have kept the growth of the General Fund at three percent or less every year, expanded city services and ended each year with a surplus.”

According to the preliminary report, total expenses will be $6.5 million under budget, revenue will be $2.6 million over projections.

Preliminary end of year expense projections include:

  • Omaha Police – under $3.9 million
  • Omaha Fire – under $874,870
  • Public Works – under $362,032
  • Finance – under $194,502
  • Planning- under $864,382
  • Parks, Recreation, Public Property-Even
  • Omaha Public Library-under $467,022

Preliminary end of year revenue projections:

  • Property tax revenue-under $928,834
  • Motor Vehicle Taxes-$2.1 million surplus
  • City Sales and Use Tax- $1.8 million surplus
  • Restaurant Tax - $2.1 million surplus
  • Utility Occupation Taxes – under $2.8 million (This is the telephone tax.  Revenue decline is due to decline in use of land lines)

“Taxpayers expect us to be responsible with their tax dollars and accountable for our spending.  This report shows again we are doing that,” said Finance Director Steve Curtiss.

As required by the City Charter the end-of-year surplus must be carried over to the 2018 budget or used for cash reserve.  Surplus funds cannot be spent this year.

The 2017 budget is available on the city’s website https://finance.cityofomaha.org/2017-adopted-budget.

(March 7, 2017)

Ideal.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer described the addition of a fifth police precinct in Elkhorn as an “Ideal plan for the City of Omaha”.

Schmaderer and Mayor Jean Stothert approved the recommendations of an Omaha Police committee formed last year to study the need for expansion of police services. The group developed a master plan to increase the number of sworn officers to 900 by 2019, and open the fifth precinct.  “This group has nearly 75 years of combined command experience. They were specifically chosen and perfectly suited for this analysis,” said Chief Schmaderer.

A recruit class this year will bring the number of budgeted officers to 860, the number will increase to 880 in 2018 and 900 in 2019.  Omaha will then meet or exceed the "gold standard" of two officers for 1,000 citizens.

The fifth precinct will be built on a four-acre lot at 209th and Cumberland.  The City has signed a Letter of Intent to purchase the property from the Elkhorn Public Schools Foundation for $980,000.  Construction is expected to begin next year. The Chief cited numerous benefits of the Cumberland location: easy access to Dodge Street, visibility, improved response times, large property with potential for future expansion and located for future city annexations.

The boundaries of the four current precincts will change when the fifth precinct opens. The new “west” precinct’s eastern boundary will be Interstate 680.  The northwest and southwest precincts will be renamed simply “north” and “south”; their western boundaries will extend further west to 680.  The northeast and southeast precincts will maintain their current names and geographic boundaries.

View new police precinct map

“Five precincts will nicely cover our call load and provide good police services,” said Schmaderer. He said it will especially help with preventing property crimes. “Property crimes are crimes of opportunity. Police visibility will help reduce that.”

“The plan Chief Schmaderer is presenting today continues our commitment to public safety.  It is and always will be our top priority,” said Mayor Stothert. “We don’t need an outside consultant to study our future needs. The Chief and his staff are the experts.  I trust their decisions and accept their recommendations,” said Mayor Stothert.

Chief Schmaderer said the committee analyzed the future growth of the city, the need for police services, 911 call loads, the terrain of the city, types of police calls, crime data, potential annexations, population density and staffing criteria.  The commanders also reviewed data from comparable cities. Schmaderer said he has been evaluating the need for the new precinct since he became Chief of Police more than five years ago.

“You expect your police command staff to provide for the safety of our citizens. Mayor Stothert is very supportive of public safety in our city. She analyzed and vetted our plan and approved it,” said Schmaderer.

Finance Director Steve Curtiss said the costs to build the new precinct are already included in the Capital Improvement Plan. Construction costs are expected to come in near $8 million.

Other costs associated with the new precinct and additional officers will include police cruisers, body cameras, other equipment for officers and startup costs.

The west precinct building will be the second new building to open.  Construction of the southwest precinct was completed last year and opened in October.

The Committee members are Deputy Chiefs Dave Baker and Libby Davis, Captains Adam Kyle, Scott Gray and Marcia West and Lt. Laurie Scott. 

(March 3, 2017)

After 888 hours of training, 52 Omaha police recruits graduated Friday and took the oath to become Omaha police officers.

"I believe the diversity of this class is a beautiful representation of the diversity of this city," said Officer Joseph Nickersen. "We promise to make good on your investment in us." Nickersen addressed the large audience of family, friends, police officers and command staff at the Omaha Design Center.

After graduation, the new officers begin the second phase of training in the field. 

Over the last three years, Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer have increased the budgeted sworn strength of the department to 860, a record high number of police officers. Chief Schmaderer and his command staff developed the staffing plan based on crime statistics, call loads, response times and population growth. A second staffing plan and a recommendation to add a fifth police precinct has been completed and will be presented soon, to continue the recent growth of the department.

"The citizens of Omaha regard public safety as our primary responsibility. That's why it's our top priority too," said Mayor Jean Stothert. "All of you understand and accept the risks and rewards of police work, that’s why you are here. So, it is especially important to thank you and your families  for the risk you will take on the job."  

Deputy Police Chief Greg Gonzalez saluted each new officer, administered the oath and pinned the badge on their uniform. "This job bears an overwhelming responsibility. Embrace it because very few get the opportunity," said Gonzalez.

"Some of us could pay the ultimate price. God forbid it should happen. But if it does, we will give our lives honorably, with no regret. This really is the best job in the whole world," said Officer Nickerson.

For the second year in a row, one recruit was honored with the Kerrieon Award, named for Officer Kerrie Orozco. Officer Orozco was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2015.  The award was presented to Officer D'Nasha Q. Jackson for modelling Officer Orozco's leadership, character, commitment, fortitude and unselfishness.

(February 15, 2017)

Omaha, NE – A job training program to prepare teens and young adults for careers will receive a huge boost from Mayor Jean Stothert.

Step-Up Omaha Summer Jobs is an annual program created by the Empowerment Network in 2012 to place applicants in summer jobs and career exploration programs.

In each of the last three years, the City of Omaha has contributed $500,000 to Step-Up. At a 2017 kick-off event today, Mayor Stothert repeated her pledge to increase the city’s funding to one- million dollars in 2018.

“This level of support will help Step-Up grow to a year-round program,” said Mayor Stothert. “We invest more money in Step-Up than any other job training program, because it works.”

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer believes there is a direct connection between Step-Up and the reduction in violent crime during the summer months.  "The Empowerment Network is a valuable community partner for law enforcement and Mayor Stothert’s increased financial support will have significant benefits for our community,” said Schmaderer.

Step-Up Director Jami Anders-Kemp called Mayor Stothert a great partner and called on businesses, non-profit organizations and churches to become partners by creating jobs or providing additional funding. “I’m asking everyone here to bring in at least two new businesses this year,” said Anders-Kemp.

Woodmen Life is a long-time partner with Step-Up, placing participants in summer jobs. 

Woodmen Executive Vice-President Denise McCauley calls Step-Up a good business decision. 

“Woodmen Life is a company that is community oriented and we have always had a focus on youth,” said McCauley. “My call to action is to ask other business leaders to take the initiative to support the program.  It helps the community and your business.”

Step-Up is open to applicants age 14-21. 

To apply for Step-Up, visit Stepupomaha.com.  To date, 510 applications have been received.  The goal is to place 600 people in jobs. The application deadline is March 6.