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2019 NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE

January 28, 2019 - Omaha neighborhood associations are encouraged to apply for the 2019 Mayor’s Neighborhood Grants program.

Mayor Jean Stothert will award $75,000 for neighborhood proposals that support and strengthen projects that improve the quality of life, impact the neighborhood environment, and help prevent crime.

In 2018, 32 projects receiving grants included equipment for citizen patrols, landscaping and trees, supplies for neighborhood cleanups, a pollinator garden, a baseball diamond, and “little free neighborhood libraries”.

For the second year, funds will be designated for the National Night Out Grants program. Grants up to $200 will be awarded to neighborhood associations that plan and host National Night Out events on August 6, 2019.

“The neighborhood grants program provides an opportunity to collaborate with our strong and creative neighborhoods,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “The best ideas and projects often come from those who benefit the most, the neighbors!”

Neighborhood organizations registered and listed in the City of Omaha Neighborhood Directory are eligible to apply for grants up to $5,000.  

The application deadline is March 26, 2019.  Applications will be reviewed by a committee including representatives of One Omaha, Omaha Police, Keep Omaha Beautiful, the Planning and Public Works Departments and the Mayor’s Grants Team.  Final awards will be approved by Mayor Stothert. Grant recipients will be announced in May.

Over the last five years, Mayor Stothert has awarded neighborhood grants for a total of $375,000.

2019 Mayor's Neighborhood Grants Overview

2019 Mayor's Neighborhood Grants Application

W-9 form

 

January 27, 2019 - The City of Omaha has received $3.1 million dollars in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program funding.  The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes grant provides funds to address lead-based paint hazards and other health hazards in homes such as radon.  The funds received will be used to make improvements to at least 150 homes within eastern Omaha.

Homes built before 1978 that have not been fully remodeled are likely to have lead-based paint present.  Prior to 1978, lead was added to paint to make it very durable.  This created a health hazard of lead exposure for occupants living in these homes with deteriorated lead-based paint.  The most concerning health factor related to lead exposure is the development / functioning of the nervous system.  Children five years of age and younger are the most vulnerable.  Lead poisoning in children can lead to developmental delays, learning difficulties, irritability, gastrointestinal issues, and various other negative medical and behavioral problems.

Apply today for this exciting program!  To qualify, applicants must live in a home built before 1978 within eastern Omaha.  Rental (including apartments) and owner-occupied units are eligible to apply.  The applicant must have one child five years of age or younger living in the home or visiting regularly.  Applicants must also have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).  For example, the maximum household income for a family of four is $65,300.  If the home is owner-occupied, the program is 100% free for participants.  If the home / apartment is a rental, the landlord must match project costs by 10%.  Homes identified with children with elevated blood levels outside the focus area are encouraged to apply as well.

Those interested in applying can contact Sarah Frederick at 402-444-5150 Ext. 2028 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive an application.  For more specific grant information, please contact Steve Zivny at 402-444-5150 Ext. 2001 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

January 16, 2019 - A new website to report concerns to the city is now live.

Omahahotline.com is an additional option to report specific problems including code violations, graffiti, road problems, weeds, litter, and during the winter, snow and ice conditions.  The website can also be used to report concerns to Douglas County.

Citizens can sign in to report and track the progress of previous reports using social media accounts.  Users can also sign in as a guest.

For example, when a pothole is reported, the system determines which jurisdiction is responsible, City of Omaha or Douglas County, and routes the report to the correct department where it is assigned a unique report ID number.  The reporting citizen receives an email response which includes the ID number and confirms the details of the report.

“We are in the customer service business and this is good, responsive customer service,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “We want every interaction with city government to be positive.  Omahahotline.com expands on the excellent services already provided by the Mayor’s Hotline staff.”

The Mayor’s Hotline staff takes reports by phone at 402-444-5555 and by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Reports can also be made on the City Sourced mobile app.

In 2018, the Mayor’s Hotline submitted 38,793 service requests to city departments.  The top five complaints were potholes, abandoned vehicles, snow removal, weeds, and litter complaints. In addition to service requests, the staff responded to 16,679 calls and emails that did not generate a request for service or repairs.  Monthly hotline reports are available on the Mayor’s website at https://mayors-office.cityofomaha.org.

Since August, Omahahotline.com has been tested by the graffiti and parks maintenance divisions. More than 1,000 reports have been entered during the test period.

The site was built by Douglas/Omaha Geographic Information Systems (DOGIS) developers and is locally managed. The cost to develop the site is $35,000 and is paid from the city’s General Fund. There are no additional fees or costs.

“This is an excellent example of using technology to provide services to our citizens.  The GIS team continues to create tools that provide useful information and data,” said Mayor Stothert. “Thanks to the team for their creative, cost-saving solutions that benefit taxpayers.”

 

 STREET POLICY OFFERS INNOVATIVE FIRST-TIME OPTION

December 13, 2018 - A policy to provide new funding options for Street Improvement Districts (SIDs) has been developed and sent to the Omaha City Council for approval. The recommended policy includes funding sources for low-income households and renters and for the first time, includes Community Development Block Grant funding in certain neighborhoods.

“This is an innovative option that meets our goal to have a policy that is applied fairly to all applicants,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.

The 2019-2025 Capital Improvement Plan includes $820,000 annually for Street Maintenance Districts (SID) and Road Maintenance Districts (RMD) cost sharing, but requires a new policy to be in place.

For many decades, property owners have been solely responsible for the cost of improvements to neighborhood streets that were built many years ago, do not meet current city standards, and have deteriorated to the point they need to be replaced.  In 2017, Mayor Stothert appointed a citizen advisory committee to review a new policy for replacing unimproved streets. 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 that participate in a SID or RMD. 

The City Council amended the recommended policy and Mayor Stothert vetoed it, saying it created too many exceptions. The Council did not try to override the Mayor’s veto.  The new policy is on the City Council agenda for approval on December 18.

The revised policy provides these new options:

● Residential areas in Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA) qualifying census tracts that have at least 50% unique, owner-occupied housing units may petition for a Street Improvement District, at 100% cost to the City. Currently, $300,000 has been budgeted for 2019.

● Residential areas in NRSA qualifying census tracts that have less than 50% unique, owner occupied housing units may apply to the Planning Department to have a SID included with the City’s Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan.  If approved, costs for these projects would be covered by Federal Block Grant funding.

“This policy addresses the need to provide additional funding options,” said Mayor Stothert.  “I believe the City must share this cost in all neighborhoods. It’s time we implement a policy that is fair for property owners on unimproved streets and affordable for the taxpayers.”

The City of Omaha has approximately 5,000 lane miles of streets, about 300 lane miles are considered unimproved.  In 2018, three RMDs and four SIDs were created.  Fifteen petitions are pending, in various stages of the process. 

 

October 24, 2018 - After more than two years of study, public outreach, and coordination with the Omaha City Council, a Request for Bids (RFB) is now advertised for a long-term solid waste contract with the City of Omaha. The RFB will provide information about the cost and affordability of services in the next contract. 

“This is a critically important decision,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “We need a modern, safe, efficient and environmentally friendly collection system that we can afford. We will choose the best system possible within our current budget. I will not support a tax increase to pay for this contract.”

Companies will be required to bid on a collection system that uses automated trucks and covered carts to collect garbage, recyclables and yard waste. Bidders will be required to provide costs on 3 options. 

  • Option 1: Three carts; one each for garbage, yard waste, and recyclables. Garbage and yard waste would be collected separately weekly.  Recyclables would be collected every other week.
  • Option 2: Three carts, co-mingled garbage, and yard waste collected weekly in two carts, recyclables collected every other week in one cart.
  • Option 3: Two carts; one cart for garbage co-mingled with yard waste collected weekly, and a second cart for recyclables collected every other week.

 YARD WASTE:

 The current contract with Waste Management requires separate yard waste collection which costs approximately $4 million annually.

The next contract will require that yard waste must be placed inside the cart provided.

Each option eliminates unlimited, free, curbside collection of yard waste. However, there will be new alternatives.

The City will expand the annual Spring Cleanup to include yard waste which is currently not offered.  A new Fall Cleanup will also be held each year beginning in 2019 for residents to dispose of yard waste, garbage, and household items. These cleanup programs will coincide with the peak seasons for yard waste.

In the future, citizens will also be able to take yard waste directly to the Oma-Gro facility at the Papillion Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility at 15705 Harlan Lewis Road.  There will be no tipping fee (cost) for homeowners to dispose of yard waste at this location.

For those who want unlimited yard waste pick-up curbside, the successful bidder will also be required to offer a voluntary, paid sticker program. The contractor will determine the price of the stickers and the retailers where stickers can be purchased.  Costs are estimated at between $1.50 to $3-$4 per sticker. Only yard waste bags marked with a sticker will be collected by the contractor. 

CARTS:

The next contract will require everyone to use carts. The 96-gallon carts, with wheels and lids, will be provided by the company. There is no direct cost to the citizens.  The carts will replace the small green recycling bins and garbage cans currently provided by citizens. An exchange program will be offered after a 90-day trial period for those who prefer a smaller cart (48 gallons) Residents can also “opt out” of a cart.

During the six-month pilot of the carts (November 2016-April 2017), 82% of the participants surveyed said they strongly or moderately favor the cart system.

TRUCKS:

The contractor will use both automated and semi-automated trucks.  In some parts of the city, including neighborhoods with alleys, narrow streets with on-street parking on both sides of the street, and large trees that hang over the street, the contractor will use a semi-automated truck.  The automated arm that lifts the carts from the curb is on the back of the truck instead of the side.  The driver will push the carts to the back of the truck so they can be lifted and emptied.

The contractor will be required to use alternative-fueled trucks, phased in over the first seven years of the contract.

“We have considered input from thousands of citizens to develop a bid that provides a base level of service that will meet the needs of most people,” said Mayor Stothert.  “We have options for continued free yard waste disposal and also continued unlimited curbside pickup for citizens who want to pay for additional service.  We have options for smaller carts and an opt-out program.  We will continue to produce Oma-Gro, and we anticipate an increase in recycling by replacing small bins with carts. These steps are responsive to the suggestions we have received.”   

The Request for Bids (RFB) has been in development for more than two years. The process included a series of public open houses, a six-month test of automated collection by 2,500 homeowners in six neighborhoods, follow-up telephone surveys, comparative studies of comparable cities, environmental studies, and input from citizens and the Omaha City Council.

“The objective of the next contract is to provide a consistent, manageable level of service throughout the City by providing a base level of service, and enhancing the options we offer citizens,” said Public Works Director Bob Stubbe. “We anticipate a high level of interest in our RFB.”

“This contract will impact the city budget for the next 20 years,” said Finance Director Steve Curtiss.  “We have considered best industry practices and best cost estimates to design an RFB that provides the services taxpayers want.”

The current contract has been in effect since 2006 and was originally awarded to Deffenbaugh Industries. Waste Management purchased Deffenbaugh in 2014.  The City currently pays approximately $20 million annually for solid waste collection; $14 million to Waste Management, plus tipping fees at the Pheasant Point Landfill. The cost of service per residence is $9.36 per month, paid from the City's General Fund.  That cost is expected to at least double to between $16.00-$18.00 in the next contract. The contract expires December 31, 2020.

The next contract will be in effect for ten years with an option for two 5-year extensions.

The Request for Bids is posted at this link: https://www.douglascountypurchasing.org.   Bids are due January 30, 2019.  The bids will be reviewed and a recommendation will be forwarded to Mayor Stothert. The Mayor will then forward a recommendation to the City Council for approval.  The City Council will review and make the final decision.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q:  WHY DO I HAVE TO USE 96-GALLON CARTS?

A: The new contract will require everyone to use carts.  The 96-gallon carts, with wheels and lids, will be provided by the company. There is no direct cost to the citizens.  The carts will replace the small green recycling bins and cans currently provided by citizens. An exchange program will be offered after a 90-day trial period for those who prefer a smaller cart (48 gallons). Residents can also “opt out” of a cart.

During the six-month test of the carts (November 2016-April 2017), 82% of the participants surveyed said they strongly favor or moderately favor the cart system.

The carts are designed for durability and to easily move heavy loads.  City Code Chapter 18, Sections 101-106 will apply to the storage of the carts.

The carts will be covered by a 12-year warranty.

Q: WILL YARD WASTE BE COLLECTED SEPARATELY?

A: We don’t know yet. The cost of separate collection will be a significant factor in this decision.  This is not the next contract. This RFB will give us information about the affordability of the services we want in the next contract. 

The companies that submit bids are required to provide costs on 3 options. 

#1-Three carts; one each for garbage, yard waste, and recyclables.  Garbage and yard waste would be collected separately weekly.  Recyclables would be collected every other week.

#2-Three carts, co-mingled garbage, and yard waste collected weekly in two carts, recyclables collected every other week in one cart.

#3-Two carts; one cart for garbage co-mingled with yard waste collected weekly, and a second cart for recyclables collected every other week.

Q: WHY IS UNLIMITED YARD WASTE COLLECTION BEING DISCONTINUED?

A:   Currently, the annual cost of unlimited curbside collection is nearly $4 million. This expense is not sustainable for the taxpayers. The majority of homeowners have minimal or no yard waste.  Survey participants indicated they typically use 1-3 yard waste bags or containers weekly which would be comparable to a 96-gallon cart.

The next contract will require that yard waste must be placed inside the cart provided.  However, there will be new alternatives for free, unlimited disposal of yard waste and a sticker program for a small cost that is successful in other communities and will allow for curbside collection.

The City will expand the annual Spring Cleanup to include yard waste which is currently not offered.  A new Fall Cleanup will also be held each year beginning in 2019 for residents to dispose of yard waste, garbage, and household items.  These cleanup programs will coincide with the peak seasons for yard waste.

In the future, citizens will also be able to take yard waste directly to the Oma-Gro facility at the Papillion Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility at 15705 Harlan Lewis Road.  There will not be a tipping fee for homeowners to dispose of yard waste at this location.

The contractor will also offer a voluntary, paid sticker program for those who want unlimited yard waste collection at the curb. The contractor will determine the price of the stickers and the retailers where stickers can be purchased.  Only yard waste bags marked with a sticker will be collected by the contractor.  The contractor will also offer an extra cart service, for a fee, for those who need additional curbside collection capacity.

Q:  WHY IS THE SOLID WASTE COLLECTION SYSTEM CHANGING AND WHEN WILL THE CHANGE BE EFFECTIVE?

A:  The City’s current contract with Waste Management expires December 31, 2020.  This contract has been in effect since 2006 and was originally awarded to Deffenbaugh Industries. Waste Management purchased Deffenbaugh in 2014.  The current, outdated system will be replaced with a system that meets current industry standards to provide safe, clean and efficient collections. The new system will benefit residents in many ways, including safety, convenience, and added capacity for recycling which will divert material from the landfill.

The trucks will be equipped with automated arms that lift the carts off the curb and empty into the truck.

The new contract will be awarded in 2019 and the new system must be in place prior to the expiration of the current contract.

Q: MY TRASH IS COLLECTED FROM AN ALLEY.  DOES THIS CHANGE APPLY TO ME?

Yes.  In some parts of the city, including neighborhoods with alleys, narrow streets with on-street parking on both sides of the streets, and large trees that hang over the street, the contractor will use a semi-automated truck. The automated arm that lifts the carts from the curb is on the back of the truck instead of the side.  The driver will push the carts to the back of the truck so they can be lifted and emptied.

Q: HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW CONTRACT COST? 

A. Our estimates project the cost of the next contract will increase significantly. The City currently pays approximately $20 million annually for solid waste collection; $14 million to Waste Management, plus tipping fees at Pheasant Point Landfill which are based on the volume of material discarded.  These costs are paid from the city’s General Fund budget.  State law requires the City of Omaha to collect solid waste without a direct charge to the taxpayer.  Nebraska State Statute 13-2020(4). In all other Nebraska cities, citizens pay for waste collection with private haulers. 

 Q: WILL THE CITY STILL PRODUCE AND SELL OMA-GRO

A: Yes

Q: WILL THE SPECIAL COLLECTION PROGRAM STILL BE OFFERED?

A: Yes.  Households where all residents have a medical disability or are at least 70 years old qualify for the special collection.  Participants in the special collection program will also use carts and can begin the new collection program with the smaller cart option. To apply for this program, call 402-444-5238.

Q: CAN I HAVE EXTRA CARTS?

A:  Yes.  If a citizen wants more than the carts provided by the City for basic service, additional carts will be available from the contractor for additional curbside capacity.  Citizens requesting the additional cart will pay the contractor directly.

Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY OLD TRASH CANS AND GREEN BINS?

A:  We recommend you keep the green recycling bin for storage or to transport glass to a recycling center.  The cans can be used for other purposes including backyard composting.

Q: WHO WILL CHOOSE THE NEXT CONTRACTOR?

A:  The Request for Bids (RFB) was published on October 24. Bids are due January 30th.  The bids will be reviewed and a recommendation will be made to Mayor Stothert.  The Mayor will then forward a recommendation to the City Council.  The Council will make the final decision. 

The bid documents are available at this link: https://www.douglascountypurchasing.org/current-requests-for-bids-a-proposals

 

October 2, 2018 - Mayor Jean Stothert has approved a new Public Works policy that creates a step-by-step process for removal of traffic signals.  Under this policy, two signals near Dundee Elementary and one near Rockbrook Elementary will not be removed.

Last fall, Mayor Stothert directed the Public Works Department to delay plans to remove the traffic signals at 51st and Farnam and 52nd and Chicago and authorized additional study during the 2017-2018 school year. The signals were scheduled for removal as part of the City’s traffic signal master plan upgrade*.

The signals at 51st and Farnam and 52nd and Chicago were studied in November 2017, April and May of 2018 by Felsburg, Holt & Ullevig (FHU).  The Public Works Department hired FHU to provide an independent study of the intersections. FHU used video cameras installed at the intersections and on-site observations to count pedestrians on November 1 and 17, April 12, May 14-15 and May 22-24.  The weather was clear on all eight days, and all were regular school days.

The 51st and Farnam, the signal did not meet the warrants and FHU recommended removing the signal. 

At 52nd and Chicago, the signal did meet the warrants and FHU recommended keeping the signal at this location.

Olsson Associates studied the signal at 108th and Oak and found it did not meet the warrants and agreed with the Public Works recommendation to remove the signal. 

Following the completion of the follow-up studies and the analysis, the Traffic Signal Removal Process Policy has been amended giving the Mayor the option to exempt signals with a school crossing sign:

“The Mayor may, in the exercise of his or her policy discretion, recommend ending the signal removal process for any signal with a school crossing sign, upon providing a written notice to the Public Works Director.”

“I made the decision to leave the signals in place at 51st and Farnam, 52nd and Chicago and 108thand Oak based on the new policy,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “The safety of everyone who uses these intersection, pedestrians, drivers or bicyclists is our primary interest.”

The Traffic Signal Removal Process Policy will be effective immediately.  It includes six steps to provide thorough study, review, and communication.

1-Initial Screening and Warrant Review

2-Supplemental Review-applies to signals identified by Public Works for removal

3-Coordination with Mayor’s Office-Mayor reviews signals recommended for removal

(Steps 4,5 and 6 improve communication and outreach)

4-Coordination with City Council members and community

5-Turn-off Period

6-Final Removal

This policy will not apply to signals on roads that are being reconstructed.

*Over the next 10 years, the City will implement the $35 million plan to modernize and upgrade the traffic signal system to improve safety and efficiency for all users. The City currently has 1,000 traffic signals using outdated technology.

August 7, 2018 - One of the city’s most frequently used websites has a new look and more features to improve customer service.

The redesigned site, www.wasteline.org provides the latest information on the city’s solid waste services in a more user-friendly format. It includes tips to reduce waste, increase recycling and stop illegal dumping, all of which have economic and environmental consequences for Omaha.

“In 2017, Omaha citizens recycled more than 17,000 tons of material, but we can and need to do better,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “Our goal with this relaunch is to encourage everyone to do their part in making Omaha a cleaner, greener city.”

The site is organized around the solid waste program’s four main service areas: garbage, recycling, yard waste and special waste. In the months ahead, additional content, including news features and videos designed to encourage residents to adopt new practices that lead to reducing the amount of material that goes to the landfill.

"More than 132,850 tons of waste went into the landfill in 2017, which cost taxpayers more than $3.4 million," Stothert said. "We need to work together to decrease this amount and help protect our natural resources. The time to start is now."

Residents can also use the site to sign up for free e-updates.  

www.wasteline.org will be the go-to resource for the latest information on the next solid waste collection contract. The current contract with Waste Management expires in 2020. The Request for Bids is expected to be released in mid-September.

WEST POLICE PRECINCT TO OPEN IN JULY 2019

July 19, 2018 -  Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer will break ground July 25th for the West Police Precinct building, located at 209th & Cumberland in Elkhorn.

In March 2017, Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer announced plans to build the 5th precinct and expand the number of Omaha police officers to 900. Current precinct boundaries will be adjusted when the precinct building opens in July 2019. The Traffic Unit, Bomb Squad and Emergency Response Unit will also move to the new precinct building.

“Adding a new precinct and reaching 900 officers is part of our strategic plan to provide the resources our police department needs to provide excellent services throughout the City,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “A single building designed to be the home of multiple units is a great example of how we are meeting our goals to run OPD more efficiently while being good stewards of the taxpayer dollars.”

“The new West Precinct will not only provide for even police coverage of the city, it also give us economy of scale as it will house three police units; uniform patrol, Emergency Response and the Traffic Unit. I am excited about this project,” said Chief

The construction contract will be on the July 24 City Council agenda for approval. Bids ranged from $9.1 million to lowest bid of $8,816,400 from ConStruct, Inc.  Project costs will be paid with Public Facilities bonds included in the 2019 Capital Improvement Plan. 

Leo A Daly is the project architect. The design creates a highly functional, secure facility for a wide range of police functions while maintaining a welcoming civic expression to the community.

“We really wanted our design to be as functional and safe as possible for the officers, while keeping a friendly, inviting feeling for the public,” said Architect Stacy Feit. “Our design includes all the necessities for the day to day life of the officers.  At the same time, we wanted to create a warm, inviting space for the public to use.” 

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held Wednesday July 25th at 11:30am at 209th & Cumberland.

Omaha West Precinct Building Information - Leo A Daly

The building is positioned centrally on the site which sets up the organizational structure of the building’s internal layout. The foreground of the building consists of public parking and an entry plaza. The plaza is made up of functional landscape that integrates protective barriers, benches, site walls and shade trees to form an outdoor “room” as an extension of the public lobby. A gated “secure perimeter” surrounds the rear portion of the site and provides a secure outdoor space for police vehicle circulation.

The functional zones of the building are reinforced through the expression of material and form. The front of the building creates a lantern effect that is intended to invite the public into the building and to encourage community member and police collaboration. The building features a meeting room available for public use. The secure police functions are emphasized on the exterior with more functional materials including architectural metal panel cladding and brick.

Inside, a north/south circulation spine provides a clear circulation path within the building, connecting the various divisions and centrally located shared spaces. The treatment of these interior spaces emphasizes functionality, security, durability, and construction economy.

June 28, 2018 - Responding to increasing complaints about fireworks, Mayor Jean Stothert is proposing to change the City ordinance that regulates the sale and use of consumer fireworks.

“Exactly one year ago, on June 28, I sent a letter to each member of the City Council, encouraging a change in the city ordinance.  The Council has not taken action to respond to our citizen’s concerns, so, I will,” said Mayor Stothert.

Mayor Stothert recommends changes to the current ordinance to reduce the time currently allowed for the use of fireworks from 10 days to five days, from June 30th through the Fourth of July only. The daily hours for discharging fireworks would also change from the current 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. to a new time of noon to 11:00 p.m. The exception would be the Fourth of July, when an 8:00 a.m. start time would be appropriate. Sales of fireworks would be allowed beginning June 29th through July fourth.

The City issues permits to non-profit organizations to sell fireworks; this year 50 organizations received those permits.

“I believe this is an appropriate compromise which will allow the celebration of Independence Day, while addressing citizen concerns about noise, fireworks injuries, the effects on persons with PTSD, property damage and the impact on pets,” said Mayor Stothert.

Members of the Mayor’s Military Service Advisory Board feel strongly that this ordinance needs to be changed to protect veterans who suffer from PTSD. Mayor Stothert said she agrees.

Ben Wormington served eight years in the United States Marine Corps after 9/11. He was deployed for three tours in Iraq. Ben’s service resulted in a service-connected disability.

“Things get a little tense for me around the Fourth of July,” said Wormington. “When you hear a mortar explode, it sounds like an IED. This ordinance is not designed to restrict your rights to celebrate our independence, but we live in a community and community means we consider how our actions impact others,” said Wormington.

Each year as the Fourth of July approaches, complaints about fireworks increase at very high numbers. Since the ordinance allowing the sale and use of fireworks in Omaha took effect, the number of calls to 911 number in the hundreds every year. In 2017, 911 recorded 424 complaints, 417 complaint calls in 2016.  The highest number was 595 in 2010.  In addition, hundreds of complaints are made to the Mayor’s Hotline, the city council office and through social media each year.

Jim Dale is an Air Force veteran, the husband of an Air Force veteran, the son of a World War II veteran and the father of an Afghanistan veteran. He is President of At Ease USA, an organization that supports active duty military, veterans and their families with treatment for PTSD.

“The sounds that we associate with the Fourth of July mean something different to those who have been in combat,” said Dale. “It’s common to say thank you for your service, and we should say it, I say it.  But let’s put some meat behind that and make this sensible change to the ordinance.”

The Nebraska Humane Society also receives complaints and will support the recommended changes.

“This is a real problem for pets and pet owners in Omaha,” said NHS Vice-President Mark Langan. “Every year, our number of strays go up around the Fourth of July.  Some dogs need to be sedated.”

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and Fire Chief Dan Olsen also support the changes.

The amended ordinance will be on the City Council agenda for first reading on July 17, a public hearing will be held July 24, with the Council vote at a later meeting.

June 8, 2018 - Twelve SIDs and Miracle Hill Golf Course are included in the 2018 annexation package recommended by Mayor Jean Stothert. The proposal now goes to the Omaha Planning Board and City Council for approval.

Mayor Stothert’s 2018 annexation goals are consistent with the previous years, the City’s ability to provide police and fire protection, eliminate islands that are already surrounded by the city, and the annexation must be revenue positive for the city over the next ten years.

The City’s population will increase by approximately 8,771 based on 2010 Census data bringing the total estimated population to 459,014. The package is revenue positive; it will increase new property valuation by over $1 billion. After annexation, property taxes in all twelve SIDs decrease after the annexation takes effect. The average reduction is $500.98 per $100,000 evaluation. Projections show the City will collect over $58 million in additional property tax revenue, more than $15 million in sales tax, and $7 million in street and highway funds over the next ten years.   

“Growing our population and tax base benefits the entire city. Continued, managed growth also has a positive impact on our bond ratings,” said Mayor Stothert. “The additional revenue allows us to continue investing in two important areas we are focused on, public safety and street improvements,” said Mayor Stothert.

In the last five years, Mayor Stothert has increased the number of sworn officers. A police recruit class this year will increase the number of officers to 880 in 2018; Mayor Stothert plans to add 22 more officers in 2019.  “Providing the resources to keep our citizens safe remains my top priority. We are consistently increasing the number of police officers as we plan for future growth and community needs,” said Mayor Stothert.

The Omaha Fire Department already provides fire protection and emergency medical service to all SIDs except Lake Cunningham Ridge, which is currently covered with a mutual aid agreement.  Omaha Fire will take over service to include Lake Cunningham Ridge after the area is annexed.

Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and Fire Chief Dan Olsen have both approved the annexation package.

The package also includes eight parks, approximately 120 acres.  There are no unimproved streets in any of the SIDs.

Miracle Hill Golf Course was also included in the 2014 annexation package. The property owner told the City the course would be redeveloped within a year, so it was removed from the package pending that redevelopment. No redevelopment has occurred in the last four years.

Home and business owners will receive annexation information in the mail next week.  The Omaha Planning Board will consider the package on July 11, it will go to the City Council for first reading on July 24.

An Open House for residents and business owners will be held Wednesday June 27th, 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Saddlebrook Community Center, 14850 Laurel Avenue. Mayor Stothert will provide an overview of the annexation package.  City departments will present information and answer questions.

The proposed SIDs to be annexed are all within City Council Districts 5, 6, and 7 except Lake Cunningham Ridge which is in District 1.

Cherry Ridge   SID 380

Cinnamon Creek  SID 392

Westin Hills  SID 415                              

Quail Hollow  SID 437

West Bay Woods  SID 439

Lake Cunningham Ridge   SID 445

Bay Ridge/West Bay Woods 2  SID 463

West Village Pointe   SID 483

West Dodge Station    SID 487

Manchester Park  SID 493

Pacific Pointe Estates SID 498

Pacific Woods    SID 500 

Miracle Hill Golf Course

SOLID WASTE CONTRACT WILL MODERNIZE COLLECTIONS

March 6, 2018 - Omaha’s next solid waste collection contract is expected to go out for bid by June.

The contract will include collecting garbage, recyclables and yard waste.  The current contract with Waste Management expires in 2020. It has been in effect since 2006.

Though still in development, the next contract will require automated trucks and covered, wheeled carts, which is a safer, more efficient system.

“We don’t believe any company will bid if we don’t move to the current industry standard of service,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.

Omaha’s contract is described as one of the largest procurement contracts in the country this year.

The current plan is to deliver three 96-gallon carts to every residential customer, one for garbage, one for yard waste and the third for recyclables.  There will be no cost to homeowners. After a 90-day trial, customers can exchange the large cart for a smaller size, most likely 45-48 gallons.  Customers may also opt out of one or more carts. For example, if a customer does not generate yard waste, that cart may not be necessary or wanted.

Public surveys conducted over the last year show 9.4 out of 10 households can be served with a 96-gallon cart. (SCS Engineers)

Another significant change in the next contract will be the amount of yard waste that can be left at the curb each week. The current contract with Waste Management allows year-round unlimited yard waste.

“This is not sustainable,” said Mayor Stothert. “There is a significant cost to taxpayers for unlimited yard waste collection, and it’s not sustainable in a long term contract.”

The RFB is expected to require all bidders to include two bids for yard waste collection; one bid for separate collection, a second bid for co-collection with trash. “The cost of yard waste collection will certainly be a factor as we select a new contractor,” said Mayor Stothert.  A decision on yard waste collections (separate or co-collection) will be made at a later date.  The collection contract does not include the disposal of waste, only the collection processes.

Several new options are being studied to help homeowners dispose of large volumes of yard waste, including a Fall cleanup similar to the Spring Cleanup offered each year, yard waste drop-off sites, and educational programs to reduce yard waste.

The RFB will also require bidders to have a modern fleet of vehicles that use an alternative fuel, likely CNG.

Waste Management currently picks up waste at 145,000 households each week.  The current cost is $9.19 per customer, per month, or a total of approximately $16 million annually which is paid from the city’s General Fund. The next contract is expected to cost significantly more, possibly double to an annual cost of $30-$32 million. The 10-year contract will have two five-year renewal options.

Nebraska state statute requires cities of the metropolitan class to provide “basic city services” at no additional cost to taxpayers, which includes solid waste collection. Omaha is the only metropolitan class city in the state.

The City hired SCS Engineers to assist with research, public outreach and development of the RFB. SCS expects there will be multiple bids.  The City Council approved the current contract with SCS for approximately $99,000. “This is a huge contract. We need the expertise of a company like SCS to help us develop the best bid possible. SCS is the best company to do that,” said Mayor Stothert.

The RFB is expected to be issued in May or June.  There will be a mandatory pre-bid meeting in June or July.  Bids will be due in August-September, and a recommendation on a new contractor will likely be made to the City Council by the end of the year.  Council members were briefed Tuesday on the status of the RFB development and will have the next 60 days to provide input.

After the Council awards the contract, it will take nine-15 months to phase in the new collection system.

Over the last two years, thousands of citizens have provided input through emails, letters, telephone surveys, a six-month test of an automated system, meetings with community groups, prospective bidders and cart vendors and a series of open houses and demonstrations.  That feedback is being considered as the request for bids is developed.

“We have a unique opportunity to modernize the City of Omaha collection system,” said SCS Engineers Vice-President Mike Miller.  “We want to get the best contract we can for the citizens of Omaha.”

For more information and resources, go to http://www.wasteline.org/.

February 22, 2018 - A new feature on the city website gives citizens a real-time progress report on snow operations.

“This is an excellent tool to provide up-to-date information about street conditions in the winter,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.

City snow plows are equipped with AVL technology, Automated Vehicle Location. These plows, mainly single and double axle dump trucks that clear main and secondary streets, are marked on the map with white arrows within black circles. The locations update every 60 seconds.

“Today is a great day to demo this because we have an active operation” said Street Maintenance Engineer Austin Rowser.

City crews have been on a 24/7 schedule since early Tuesday morning and will continue at least through the weekend due to additional snow in the forecast.

Users of the new site can see which streets and neighborhoods have been plowed, where plowing is underway and where plowing has not yet started.

“It’s very important to offer a tool that shows where we are and the status of our operation,” said Rowser.

City plows have been equipped with AVL technology for about ten years; it has been used to monitor and manage plowing operations, and investigate citizen complaints and claims.  The City contracts with Verizon to provide the expanded technology for the public website. The site is also available on smart phones and tablets.

The City also has 20 companies under contract with approximately 175 additional plows to work in residential areas.  These trucks are equipped with GPS but are not yet connected to the new public system.

“We expect this site to evolve,” said Rowser. “Our goal is to have an address lookup so citizens can look up their address and get information about when the plow was on their street.”

The new site is easily accessed on the home page at cityofomaha.org.  Click on DOGIS snow operations on the menu.

2018 NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT APPLICATIONS DUE MARCH 26

January 29, 2018 - Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert will again award neighborhood grants for projects that improve the quality of life, increase public safety, and help prevent crime in neighborhoods.

This year, the Mayor will award $75,000 for neighborhood projects. In addition, $2,000 dollars will be designated for National Night Out events, and $1,500 will be appropriated to the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission to produce a Neighborhood Alliance Resource Guide. Funds will also be set aside for a mini-grant program in the fall.

“The neighborhood grant program is an example of how neighborhoods and city government work as partners,” said Mayor Stothert. “Awards have helped citizen patrols buy equipment, neighborhood associations have purchased park equipment, improved lighting and created community gardens.  Each project provides a direct benefit to the neighborhood.”      

Neighborhood organizations registered and listed in the City of Omaha Neighborhood Directory are eligible to apply for grants up to $5,000.  Applications are available on the Mayor’s website, https://mayors-office.cityofomaha.org/neighborhoods.  

The application deadline is March 26, 2018.  Applications will be reviewed by a committee including representatives of One Omaha, Omaha Police, the Planning and Public Works Departments and the Mayor’s Grants Team.  Final awards will be approved by Mayor Stothert. Winners will be announced in May.

Over the last four years, Mayor Stothert has awarded 108 neighborhood grants for a total of $290,000.

Click Here to download the 2018 Mayor's Neighborhood Grants Overview which explains the Eligibility and Program Requirements.

Click Here to download the fillable PDF for the 2018 Mayor's Neighborhood Grants Application.

 

 

OMAHA TO STUDY VISION ZERO

October 17, 2017 - Omaha will join a growing number of U.S. cities studying and implementing Vision Zero, a strategy to reduce and eliminate traffic deaths.

The Active Living Advisory Committee, created by Mayor Jean Stothert’s Executive Order in 2014, provided an overview of Vision Zero to Mayor Stothert in July. She asked the committee to prepare a recommendation on next steps.  The Committee’s recommendation, received this month, is that Omaha become a Vision Zero City. The committee recommends further study and development of a Vision Zero strategy by a task force created by the Mayor and a timeline to present a final report.

Sweden created the Vision Zero model in 1997.  The idea is now spreading to cities in the United States including Columbia, Missouri, Minneapolis, Austin, Denver, Fremont, California and others.

Vision Zero cities meet four minimum criteria:

  • A clear goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries
  • Mayor’s commitment to Vision Zero
  • A Vision Zero plan or strategy is in place, or a timeline for implementation
  • Key city departments (including police, transportation and public health) are engaged.

According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, there were 12,155 vehicle crashes in Douglas County in 2016, 36 fatalities and 6,116 injuries. (http://dot.nebraska.gov/media/10414/facts2016.pdf)

“Vision Zero is a common sense goal we should strive for,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “Public safety is our primary responsibility and priority.  The Active Living Advisory Committee has presented an excellent recommendation and we will proceed.”

The Active Living Advisory Committee recommends a final report within 9-18 months.

"A vision zero goal prioritizes human life as we make decisions on transportation design, education, and enforcement. It also promotes interagency coordination of safety analysis and implementation,” said Committee Chairman Mark Stursma. “I would like to personally thank Mayor Stothert for her leadership on this important initiative.  The goal is zero, but if even one life is saved it will be a worthwhile endeavor.”

Members of the Active Living Advisory Committee are:

Mark Stursma, Planning Director, City of Papillion (Committee Chair)

Ben Turner, Omaha B-cycle Executive Director

Andy Wessel, Douglas County Health Department

Christopher Rolling, Civil Engineer, Olsson Associates

Tom Everson, Founder - Keep Kids Alive Drive 25

Pell Duvall, Duvall Consulting

More information about the Active Living Advisory Committee and the Vision Zero recommendation is available at: https://mayors-office.cityofomaha.org/2-uncategorised/179-active-living-advisory-committee

 

GLASS RECYCLING OPTIONS EXPAND

October 12, 2017 - Two new recycling drop-off locations opened today in Omaha, expanding the number of sites that accept glass to nine.

“As our city grows, the need for this service has increased and we are responding to you,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.

The expansion is possible through a partnership between the City of Omaha, Keep Omaha Beautiful, and Ripple Glass of Kansas City, Missouri.

The new locations are HyVee at 178th & Pacific and Fresh Thyme at 14949 Evans Plaza. These new containers are bright purple and follow the Ripple Glass theme used in a five-state area. Omaha’s other glass containers will also be converted to the purple theme.

In late 2016, Keep Omaha Beautiful wrote a grant for approximately $14,000  to the Nebraska Recycling Council to purchase new collection containers.  The council received the grant funds from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, a beneficiary of the Nebraska Lottery.

“The Nebraska Environmental Trust is very pleased to be a partner in this project to recycle glass in Nebraska’s largest city, Omaha.  Every bottle that is recycled is one less bottle in a local landfill,” said Nebraska Environmental Trust Executive Director Mark Brohman.

“The Nebraska Recycling Council was excited to provide Nebraska Environmental Trust grant funds to Keep Omaha Beautiful for these containers, and support their partnership with our friends at Ripple Glass,” said Nebraska Recycling Council Executive Director Julie Diegel. “Glass recycling in this large population center is more convenient than ever, no more difficult than a trip to the grocery store and it will have a profound impact on resource conservation, economic development, and landfill longevity in the region.”

In 2016, more than 1,200 tons of glass were collected for recycling at drop-off locations. (The City discontinued curbside glass recycling collections in 2006 due to hazards from broken glass and contaminants when it is not separated from other recyclables.) The glass is shipped to Ripple Glass where it is manufactured into new products.  Last year, the city paid River City Recycling approximately $79,000 to empty the recycling containers and prepare the glass for shipment to Ripple. 

“Ripple Glass is excited to expand our partnership with the City of Omaha to provide residents with convenient locations to recycle their glass,” said Regional Business Manager Sarah Luebe. “All of the glass recycled in Omaha is processed and made into fiberglass insulation and new bottles, which reduces waste, conserves landfill space and supports area businesses.” 

“It has been exciting to see so many different organizations come together to help make this expansion of the City’s glass recycling program happen. With more glass collection drop-off sites spread throughout Omaha, we are making it much easier for residents to recycle their glass and demonstrate their commitment to diverting material from the landfill,” said Keep Omaha Beautiful Executive Director Chris Stratman.

Stratman says when the new containers are used to capacity,  an additional 350 tons of glass will be collected annually.

The other recycling sites in Omaha are at these locations:

FULL-SERVICE SITES:

20801 Elkhorn Drive

26th & Douglas (NE corner)

75th & Corby

River City Recycling - 6404 S. 60th

Firstar Fiber - 10330 I Street

GLASS ONLY SITES:

2725 N. 62nd Street

Heartland of America Park - 800 Douglas

Information about the City’s recycling program is available on OmahaRecycles.com and in the fall edition of “Wasteline”, which will be available online Friday October 13 at www.wasteline.org.   The Wasteline publication will be delivered to homes next week.

 

NEW PARK WILL HONOR FATHER FLANAGAN

August 1, 2017 - By unanimous vote, the City of Omaha Naming Committee has recommended the new lake and park at 168th and Fort be named for the founder of Boys Town, Father Edward Flanagan.

The committee reviewed more than 200 suggested names offered by citizens.  Flanagan Lake was the top suggestion. Many people noted this year’s 100th anniversary of Boys Town in their recommendations including this nomination:

“My suggestion for naming the park is Father Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys Town. He is a strong charitable historical figure in Omaha, who contributed so much to children in our city during his lifetime, and left a lasting positive impact on our city and county. What better person to name the new park after during the 100th anniversary year of Boys Town?!”

 The naming committee’s vote must also be approved by the Parks and Recreation Board and the Omaha City Council. The Parks and Recreation Board will meet this month.

Under a 2012 interlocal agreement between the City of Omaha and the Papio Natural Resources District, the City will take possession of the property in September.  The park is expected to open next year.

By City Ordinance (27-142) the Naming Committee must review and provide recommendations regarding the proposed naming or renaming of city property.  The Naming Committee includes three members appointed by the mayor and six department directors required by ordinance (Police Chief, Fire Chief, Parks Director, Planning Director, Public Works Director, and Library Director). The appointed members are Douglas County Commissioners P.J. Morgan and Marc Kraft and Mike Kennedy. The advisory committee met Monday July 31st.

The top recommendations from the public:

Edward Flanagan              28 nominations

Kerrie Orozco                    22

Andrea Kruger                   12

Susan La Flesche Picotte Park    6  (including NRD)

Dr. Don Benning                4

Bob Gibson                        4

Jean Stothert                     4

Johnny Rosenblatt            3

Jesse Lowe                       3

Buffett Family                    3

A complete list of suggestions made by the public is attached.

 

NEIGHBORS CELEBRATE RETURN OF SPRING LAKE 

July 7, 2017- More than 80 years ago, the lake in Omaha’s Spring Lake Park was drained.  This week, neighbors celebrated the return of the park’s namesake.

“Spring Lake is a real success story for taxpayers and the neighborhood advocates who had a vision for this park,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “The environmental, financial and neighborhood benefits are tremendous.”

Janet Bonet has worked for years, 25 years to be exact, to put the lake back in Spring Lake.  In 1992, she formed the “Spring Lake Park Team”. 

The old lake bed had become an ugly make-shift dumping ground.  Janet and the team raised money, designed plans, and called mayors and city council members looking for support.  Retired City Councilman Garry Gernandt, a south Omaha resident and longtime champion of this project answered one of those calls,  “I wasn’t even in office my first hour and Janet called me about putting the lake back in Spring Lake.”

Then along came Omaha’s CSO project; the unfunded federal mandate that requires Omaha to separate the sewer system.

Janet called it a miracle, where the practical and the dream came together.  “I am proud, pleased and happy,” said Bonet.  “I’ve been through five mayors on this and it’s great to see it come to fruition. There’s a great deal that can be accomplished through community activism and working with your local government.”

The City of Omaha is now in the ninth year of the 18-year, two-point-two million dollar construction project.  Most of the projects completed and planned have some type of green component.  Spring Lake is one of the most significant.

By rebuilding the lake to hold stormwater runoff, smaller pipes could be installed underground at a savings of $5 million.

The total project cost at Spring Lake will be $16.5 million. The Nebraska Environmental Trust provided more than one-million dollars in grants. “We are providing urban habitat and a place for neighbors to enjoy”, Executive Director Mark Brohman.

“Our goal was to keep nature in the city,” said Bonet. “We wanted to keep as much wildlife as possible.”

The Spring Lake Park Team is now raising money for a fountain to be installed in the lake, and educational programs.

“Persistence, hard work, and good timing made it possible to return this public space to its original purpose and beauty,” said Mayor Stothert. “This story illustrates the importance of citizen engagement.  Great things can happen when citizens and city leaders work together.”  

 

MAYOR SUPPORTS CAP ON VALUATION INCREASES

January 31, 2017 - Mayor Jean Stothert asked the Douglas County Board to support a cap on residential property valuations, responding to frequent questions and criticism of the recent increases set by the Douglas County Assessor.

The Mayor testified in support of a resolution to limit increases to a maximum of three percent in 2017.  Many homeowners have been shocked to learn of increases ranging from four to 23%.

“These increases will be unaffordable for many of our citizens,” said Mayor Stothert. “Without warning and after years of no significant increases, the decision to catch up all at once is unfair. We must advocate for the taxpayers we represent and attempt to remedy the burden.”

State statute requires county assessors in Nebraska set property valuations. Local government subdivisions with taxing authority set levies based on valuations, including school districts, Educational Service Units, transit authorities, natural resource districts, community colleges and cities. 

“I have already pledged to once again reduce the property tax rate for the citizens of Omaha by at least 2%.  However, even with our two previous reductions in 2015 and 2017, many taxpayers will not benefit because the valuation increases are so significant,” said Mayor Stothert.

She challenged all local government subdivisions to reduce their levies and provide relief to our taxpayers.

“If we all did this, taxpayers would see a significant tax decrease,” she said.

Last week, Assessor Diane Battiato defended the preliminary increases and encouraged property owners to make an appointment with an appraiser in the assessor’s office to review their valuations.  Battiato told the board the increases are due in part to the rising residential real estate market.

One after another, homeowners told commissioners they could no longer afford their homes if the preliminary valuations are not reduced; some suggested the increases are unlawful.

Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom President Doug Kagan told commissioners, “Our group is asking the county commissioners to use its maximum authority to rollback these increases.  We no longer request relief from our elected officials, we demand it.”

Assessor Battiato told the commissioners she had developed several options to review the increases and reduce the burden on owners and would include the 3% cap in the alternatives.

“Even though we cannot require the assessor to make broad changes, I support the resolution, and urge you to vote yes on this resolution” said Mayor Stothert.

The board voted 6-1 to support the resolution capping the increases.

 

2017 NEIGHBORHOOD GRANTS DUE IN MARCH

January 23, 2017 - Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has announced the 2017 Neighborhood Grants program. 

Projects that improve the quality of life, increase public safety, and help prevent crime in neighborhoods are eligible for neighborhood grants.  A total of $80,000 in grants will be awarded this year.

“Strong neighborhoods are the backbone of our city,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.  “This is an opportunity for the city to become a partner in projects that benefit the residents and businesses in the neighborhood.”

Neighborhood organizations registered and listed in the City of Omaha Neighborhood Directory are eligible to apply for grants up to $5,000.  Applications should describe projects that creatively improve the quality of life, safety and appearance, environmental impact and livability of the neighborhood.

The application deadline is March 24, 2017. Winners will be announced April 26.

“This is always a competitive process.  I look forward to reviewing the proposals and watching projects develop,” said Mayor Stothert.

Over the last three years, Mayor Stothert has awarded 94 neighborhood grants for a total of $240,000.

Successful projects have included safety lighting, park and playground improvements, community gardens, youth athletics, equipment for citizen patrols and neighborhood watch groups and National Night Out neighborhood block parties. 

2017 Neighborhood Grants Application

2017 Neighborhood Grants Overview

 

MAYOR PROPOSES CHANGES TO STREET REPAIR POLICY

December 27, 2016 - Mayor Jean Stothert has named a citizen advisory committee to review a new policy for replacing unimproved streets.

For many decades, property owners have been solely responsible for the cost of improvements to neighborhood streets that were built many years ago, do not meet current city standards and have deteriorated to the point they need to be replaced. 

“I believe the City must share this cost with the property owners,” said Mayor Stothert. “The current policy puts the entire burden on the owners; they’re frustrated and rightly so. We will find a solution to improve these streets at a more affordable cost for the owners and the City.”

The City of Omaha has approximately 5,000 lane miles of streets, about 300 are considered unimproved.

This year, Mayor Stothert recommended and the City Council approved several cost-sharing projects on unimproved streets including 113th Street north of Pacific, 78th Avenue & Poppleton, South 95th Circle and the Rockbrook neighborhood.  Twelve more neighborhoods are in various stages of the currently required process to create Street Improvement Districts (new concrete streets) or Roadway Maintenance Districts (asphalt).

The primary goals of the committee will be 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 that participate in a Street Improvement District or a Road Maintenance District.  The Omaha City Council must approve the new policy.

The citizen members are:

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

Julie Smith, One Omaha

Precious McKesson, North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance

Kimara Snipe, South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, Highland South-Indian Hill Neighborhood Association

Mr. John Fullencamp, Fullencamp, Doyle & Jobeun

State Senator John McCollister

Public Works Director Bob Stubbe and City Engineer Todd Pfitzer will represent Public Works, Cassie Paben, Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Development will represent the mayor’s office and Councilman Franklin Thompson will represent the Omaha City Council.  Mary Baluff has been hired to facilitate the advisory committee.

“Citizen input is important in every decision,” said Mayor Stothert. “The volunteers serving on this committee represent neighborhoods across the city and will provide important feedback that will lead to a fair policy.”

PUBLIC INPUT LEADS TO CHANGE IN SNOW POLICIES

October 26, 2016 - A series of changes in the City's snow removal policies will begin this year, based on a citizen survey and an internal evaluation of current practices.

"I have said before, we can do better, and we will do better," said Mayor Jean Stothert. "These changes are responsive to what the citizens tell us they expect."   

The survey was developed by Q.E.M., an independent research company.  The questions  were based on a typical snow event, not a blizzard, or a severe ice storm. Citizens also had the opportunity to make suggestions and offer criticism of the city’s snow removal operations.

The City provided three ways to participate. Q.E.M identified 1,400 households, 200 in each city council district that received the survey by mail in July.  These surveys were returned anonymously.

The survey was also on Mayor Stothert's website and returned through the Mayor’s Hotline.  Citizens who used this electronic option, had to provide their name and address to verify they live in Omaha. City council members provided  the names of additional constituents in their districts to receive the survey.

299 people returned the mail survey, or 21%.  Q.EM. considers that consistent with typical survey participation results.  Nineteen of the 61 people recommended by the City Council returned surveys, and 33 responses came through the mayor’s website.

 The survey focused on snow removal on major, secondary and residential streets,  snow emergency procedures and the public’s level of satisfaction with current procedures.  

The survey shows 43% of the respondents want major and secondary streets passable at all times, 39% expect majors and secondary streets to be dry within 24 hours after the snow ends.

Three-fourths of those surveyed, 73%, want residential streets plowed when there is more than two inches of snow, only after the majors and secondary streets are plowed. Most say they do not expect their street to be plowed to bare pavement.

Omaha’s current snow emergency procedure includes the odd-even parking ban on residential streets east of 72nd Street, where many people park on the street because off-street parking is not available.  The survey results show 79% think the odd-even parking plan is clear or easy to follow,  23% think it’s poorly enforced, only 15% percent think it’s effective.

The survey also shows most people would not support a citywide, total street parking ban during a snow emergency. However, those who would support a total ban live in City Council districts 5, 6, and 7,  west of 72nd street.

About two-thirds of the people surveyed are generally satisfied with the timing and quality of snow removal on the major and secondary roads., half are satisfied with residential snow removal.  The lowest “satisfaction” scores are in the areas of sidewalks, ticketing during snow emergencies, and responses to specific citizen requests.

Everyone who answered the survey could also make specific suggestions, and complaints.

The most frequent complaints are about plows pushing snow onto driveways and sidewalks, plowing cul-de-sacs, and covering crosswalks and ADA ramps at intersections.

The survey also showed citizens do not support an increase in the wheel tax to pay for improved or additional services. "I would not support an increase in the wheel tax, but people do ask me about it and if higher taxes could pay for more employees and services, but I do not support increased taxes," said Mayor Stothert.  "The costs of the changes we will make are incorporated into our 2017 budget for snow and ice removal."

The survey, along with an internal review will lead to a number of changes in the City’s plan beginning now.

The changes are:

  • 16 new employees added in the Street Maintenance Division.  Hiring is underway.  Many will be on the job before January 1; the rest will start after the New Year.
  • Purchased new 14 single axle trucks.  Most have been delivered; the remaining equipment is expected in November.  These trucks replace old equipment and will be more reliable.  Fewer trucks will need maintenance during snow events.
  • Plowing in residential neighborhoods will begin when snow accumulation exceeds two inches.
  • Hired 21 private contractors for residential plowing.  These companies will have up to 215 trucks available.  Last winter:  17 private contractors
  • A new 90,000 gallon brine tank has been installed at the at the new street maintenance yard at 18th and Jaynes.  More brine can be produced and stored than ever before.
  • The new yard will also enhance our services in northeast and downtown Omaha.
  • We have more companies (4) under contract to provide inspections of residential streets.  These companies have expertise in engineering, surveying and construction inspections.  The number of inspectors will increase from 15 to 26.
  • Personnel and equipment from the Parks Department and construction, traffic and sewer maintenance divisions will back-up plows on the major streets.  This provides more frequent plowing on these important routes. 

The most apparent changes will be on residential streets.  Contractors will begin plowing when two inches of snow accumulates.  Previously, four inches of snow was the benchmark for residential streets.  Pretreating streets will begin on residential and secondary streets and will start 72 hours before a forecasted storm instead of the previous timeline of 36 hours.  "Our brine operation will be much more aggressive than we have been in the past," said Street Maintenance Engineer Austin Rowser.  "In the past, we were concerned brine would lose some of its effectiveness  if we started too soon.  Studies and the experience of other communities show brine can be used successfully further out before a storm."

Q.E.M. did not charge for the study or the analysis of the results.  The city paid approximately $4,500 in related costs including mailing and data entry.

Click on the link below to review the entire survey:

QEM Snow Survey

A summary of the comments provided by the respondents:

I think for the most part, the services are good.  We can always improve with input and ideas.  The City is doing a great job

Major streets for the most part are cleared very well.  (5)

I think things are good, we live in Nebraska where it snows.  The complainers are people who can’t drive in snow.  I commute from west Omaha to downtown and have never been stuck.  Plows shouldn’t even be out wasting taxpayer money for less than 4” of snow.

Overall, the plowers do a good job (7)

I like that the city hires private contractors

Service is more than satisfactory

City workers work hard to clear the streets, good job!

I was born and raised in Omaha, the services we receive today are far better than in the past.  Keep up the good work

I am impressed with PW and their snow removal plans

The current service is excellent compared to other places I have lived

 Current service is satisfactory

The city does a great job with pretreatment and snow removal.  The # of lane miles in the city presents a daunting challenge but the overall quality of work is very high.  Keep up the good work

No complaints, a fine job is being done.  A little patience by the public would go a long way

I have not seen any major problems (2)

Overall very good service, only suggestion is more oversight of contractors

Our streets are cleared much faster and better since city started hiring contractors

They always do an excellent job plowing my neighborhood, they even make sure they don’t plow my driveway shut

I think we had some back luck last winter with storms hitting at rush hour, PW rebounded nicely.  Keep up the good work

Thank you for trying to improve snow removal in our city

Snow plowed into corners of intersections covering sidewalks, school crosswalks and ADA ramps  (5)

 Spraying the roads in advance is not being used effectively. (2)

Use non-corosive and eco-friendly deicing agents (2)

City should be more proactive and pre-treat all streets before a snow event (3)

Plowing of residential streets is too late and first pass is incomplete

Snow removal very rare on residential streets

Odd-even parking system doesn’t work

Enforce the snow emergency parking rules (4)

I have never heard of the odd-even parking system, better communication about snow emergency rules is needed  (2)

Snow emergency should apply everywhere, not just east of 72 Street (2)

Contractors should be able to spread salt and pre-treat

The question about increasing the wheel tax is ludicrous.

Raise the wheel tax if necessary to do a better job on residential streetsThe wheel tax is already outrageous

We live on a circle. It would make sense to plow the snow to the center of the circle.  Public Works  plows to the outside of the circle, blocking driveways and mailboxes with several feet of snow.  (7)

We live in an area with paved alleys.  They are never plowed.  I have called in the past and never has a plow come through until a Deffenbaugh truck got stuck last year.   (2)

The issue is with residential and secondary streets. The streets in my neighborhood are never completely cleaned.  They will receive a pass by the plow, enough for my car to get through, but there is no followup to clear the street to the pavement.  I would like the City to focus on residential and secondary streets and clear them to the pavement.

Bike lanes are nearly never cleared. Bike lanes are treated as a place to dump snow This survey is highly biased to drivers. Waiting weeks to get a sidewalk cleared is unacceptable. They should be cleared in a day or two.

Snow removal in my west Omaha development is terrible. It takes forever for anyone to come and the vehicles are not sufficient for proper snow removal.  After several snows, we do not see dry pavement until spring.  Snow removal patterns are erratic at best.  Residential intersections are left with walls of snow. This creates highly hazardous conditions. The small plow pickup trucks seem to get pleasure out of filling driveways with an icy mess.

I chose to buy a home on an unpaved street, however I expect my street to be serviced as well. We struggle with this every winter. 

I have plowed our street for 35 years, the city comes in and does it 3-5 days later.  Then they dump salt on our gravel road and destroy it. What does it take to keep the city from destroying our road and let me take care of it? 

There is always a lot of ice on our corner. I call repeatedly and no one ever comes to salt the street.

Strict enforcement of sidewalk clearing is needed (3)

Sometimes the same streets are plowed repeatedly and others are neglected. (2)

Plow drivers should not cover sidewalks that have already been cleared by homeowners (10)

Plows should not push snow in front of driveways after the homeowner has already cleared the driveway (19) 

The main streets are done well but does me no good if my street is not plowed (2)

Plows should drive the speed limit (8)

My car always get plowed in.  Should plow to the middle of the street

Need better curb-to-curb clearance

Every winter it is over 24 hours before we get plowed

I call and still get no service

Snow removal is subpar to Cleveland,  Seattle, Boston and NYC  (2)

More attention to clearing snow from hilly streets (5)

I prefer that some snow be left on the streets for traction instead of plowing to pavement

Can you make another pass past schools before dismissal?

You need more trucks and employees

Don’t wait until snow stops to start plowing

Public Works is not focused on the customer

The timing and quality of residential plowing is inconsistent at best

Before Omaha annexed Elkhorn, our streets were always plowed overnight, we are never plowed now

Should use all city plows, no contractors, their trucks and plows aren’t adequate (3)

There needs to be city communication and stricter enforcement against those who blow snow into the street.  Blowing snow into the street should carry a heavy city fine. (4)

Do major and secondary streets first and keep them closed during the storm

Solution: a comprehensive monorail built above houses, or increase the number of plows and drivers

The Mayor does an excellent job trying to provide good service to all Omaha residents.  We are happy with the services and her continued transparency

As long as primary and secondary streets are plowed within 3 hours, we are fine

Omaha drivers have become a little too demanding about snow removal (5)

Better communication to citizens about level of service to expect

Publish a schedule of when secondary and residential streets will be plowed   (2)

No plowing necessary when less than an inch of snow

Interstate 680 is always a mess

Our HOA told us the City will shovel sidewalks after we were annexed

I have only been stuck once, during the Blizzard of ‘75

 

MAYOR ANNOUNCES PILOT PROGRAM TO TEST TRASH COLLECTION

August 23, 2016- The City of Omaha and Waste Management will begin a pilot program this fall to evaluate an automated collection system for solid waste and recyclables.

“The pilot is the next step in a series of actions  to prepare for an overhaul of our current system,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “I support a modern collection system, using covered, wheeled carts and CNG fueled trucks equipped with automated arms. We asked Waste Management to develop this pilot to give us firsthand feedback from the citizens selected to participate.”    

In June, Mayor Stothert invited public opinion about current and future service and received approximately 500 responses through the Mayor’s Hotline.

The Mayor also recommended and the Omaha City Council approved a study by SCS Engineers to  anaylze yard waste collection and the OmaGro program.  This month, the contract with SCS was expanded to include surveys to identify the services citizens prefer.

All feedback will be considered as the city prepares a new RFP for solid waste and recyclable collections. 

The six-month pilot project is scheduled to begin November 7. Approximately 2,500 homes will be selected to participate on currently scheduled residential routes, including those with narrow streets, large trees that overhang streets and special collection stops (for elderly and disabled homeowners). 

Those locations are:

Monday - 96th to 108th; Harrison to Jefferson
Tuesday - 114th to 120th ; Arbor to Pacific
Wednesday - 90th to 98th; Pacific to W. Dodge
Thursday - 78th to 88th; Maple to Boyd
Friday - 102nd to 106th; Nebraska to Mary

During the week of October 31, Waste Management will deliver two (2) 96-gallon carts to each participating home, one for trash and yard waste, the other for recyclables.

Trash and yard waste will be collected weekly.  Recyclables will be collected every other week.   Waste Management will provide monthly reports to the city.

“Waste Management is excited to partner with the City of Omaha on the pilot demonstration as an example of a modernized solid waste collection program,” said Carl Niemann, Director of Municipal Services. “Waste Management is utilizing trucks and carts that have proven successful in other communities, allowing the city’s residents and leaders to evaluate the benefits of wheeled carts with state of the art automated collection vehicles.”

The city’s current contract with Waste Management expires in 2020.  The company has indicated it would consider terminating the current agreement and bid on a new contract.  The new RFP is likely to be ready by mid to late 2017.

 

EXCELLENCE AWARDS RECOGNIZE COMMITMENT TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

March 22, 2016 - Five organizations will be recognized this month during Community Development Week. The Community Excellence Awards recognize the accomplishments of individuals and organizations making significant contributions to the quality of life in Omaha's older neighborhoods.  This year, the theme of CD week is, "Celebrating Diversity in Omaha's Neighborhoods".

The 2016 award recipients are SONA, the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, Habitat for Humanity, Holy Name Housing Corporation, Omaha Economic Development Corporation and Gesu Housing.

SONA formed in 1997 to represent 13 neighborhood associations; more than 50 associations and non-profit groups now belong to the alliance. SONA's mission is to enhance south Omaha neighborhoods through collaboration, empowerment and promoting positive change.  The alliance has been involved in community projects including City Sprouts South and the Tree of Life on south 24th Street.  Since SONA organized almost 20 years ago, five additional neighborhood alliances have formed. 

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha will be recognized for 30-plus years of building homes and strong neighborhoods.  Since 1984, Habitat has partnered with more than 1,173 families and provided nearly 500 homes. These revitalized properties now contribute more than $440,000 in annual property taxes, which previously had very little value.  Additionally, since 2008, Habitat's Roof and Repair Program has completed 332 repair projects to help families make affordable exterior home repairs.

Holy Name Housing Corporation has invested over $68 million to enhance the quality of housing in north Omaha neighborhoods, building 338 new homes. The Corporation has also built three elderly housing developments in north Omaha and restored the historic Leo Vaughan Manor providing senior apartments. Holy Name Housing was established in 1982, focused on reversing the decline, crime and blight in the Holy Name neighborhood. Over the last 30 years, Holy Name Housing has also created three moderate-income subdivisions in north Omaha, Monmouth Park, Fontenelle Estates and Charles Ridge.  Additional housing is under construction now.

The recently announced Fair Deal Village MarketPlace on North 24th Street is a project of the Omaha Economic Development Corporation.  Since 1977, OEDC has developed housing and commercial space in north Omaha, including 500 multi-family rental units, single family homes and senior apartments. The Fair Deal MarketPlace will open on the former site of the historic Fair Deal Cafe.  A restaurant, farmer's market and a dozen micro-business retailers will open later this year.   

The fifth Excellence Award will be presented to Gesu Housing, Inc. Gesu builds energy-efficient, affordable housing.  In the Clifton Hills neighborhood, 33 Energy Star Certified homes have been built and sold in the last 14 years. Five additional homes are under construction, five more are planned for later this year. Gesu was founded in 2002 by Brother Mike Wilmot, S.J.  The company hopes to expand into additional Omaha neighborhoods.

The Community Excellence Awards will be presented March 31st.

 

 MAYOR ANNOUNCES 2016 NEIGHBORHOOD GRANTS PROGRAM

February 10, 2016 - Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has announced the 2016 Neighborhood Grants program.  Neighborhood organizations registered and listed in the City of Omaha Neighborhood Directory are eligible to apply for grants, up to $5,000. 

“Neighborhood grants empower citizens to improve their neighborhoods,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.

“The  response to this program shows  the strength of neighborhoods and the willingness to work with the City on projects we are all proud of.”

Applications should describe projects that creatively improve the quality of life, safety and appearance, environmental impact and livability of the neighborhood.

The application deadline is April 1, 2016. Winners will be announced in May.

Mayor’s grants have helped fund many successful projects including the City Sprouts internship program, safety lighting in the Blackstone neighborhood, playground improvements, CPR training and equipment upgrades for citizen patrols and neighborhood watch groups.

2016MayorsNeighborhoodGrantsTimeline 

2016 Neighborhood Grants Overview

2016 Mayor's Neighborhood Grants Application

Please note that the original application form contained a typo on page 2 that misidentified the Total Project Cost calculation as Grant Amount Requested. This issue has been fixed with version 2 of the 2016 Mayor's Neighborhood Grants Application.

 

NATIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD CONFERENCE COMING TO OMAHA

June 16, 2015 - Omaha has been selected to host the 2017 Neighborhoods USA Conference.

Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) is a national organization that provides guidance, encouragement, and educational tools to help community advocates and civic leaders organize neighborhood groups and effectively bring them into local decision-making processes.

“Strong neighborhoods build a strong city,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “One of the things that makes Omaha so unique is our network of neighborhood associations and alliances working throughout our city. The NUSA Conference will give our citizen leaders the opportunity to share best practices and learn from each other. It is a great honor to be selected as the host city.”   

The NUSA Board of Directors selected Omaha as the 2017 convention site at the annual meeting in Houston. A 30-member Omaha delegation attended the convention and a team presented Omaha’s application to host the convention.  The team included Vanessa Denney, Omaha Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; Karen Bluvas, Dahlman Park Neighborhood Association, Paula Steenson, Paula Presents, City Council Vice-President Chris Jerram, Amanda Hooper, Hilton Hotel and Kyle Keith, North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance.

This was Omaha’s first bid to host the convention. Other cities considered were Birmingham, Alabama and Columbia, South Carolina.  The conference will be held May 24-27, 2017 and will bring over 1,000 neighborhood leaders to Omaha. 

Omaha will also host the second annual Iowa-Nebraska IN the Neighborhood Conference in October.

 

MAYOR STOTHERT AWARDS GRANTS FOR SAFETY PROJECTS

May 6, 2015 - Mayor Jean Stothert has awarded more than $65,000 in grants to help Omaha neighborhood associations invest in public safety equipment and improvements.  “Crime prevention starts in the neighborhoods where we live,” said Mayor Stothert. “Working as partners, we can make our City safer for everyone.”

The Mayor focused the grants on public safety after the shootings in January at 34th and Parker.  Several days later, at a meeting of the North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, neighborhood leaders discussed neighborhood safety.  Their resolve to take action led to the Mayor’s decision to prioritize projects that highlight safety.

“Public safety is my number one priority and responsibility.  The neighborhood associations receiving these grants have developed ideas and programs that demonstrate we all share this important responsibility,” said Mayor Stothert.

In addition to the grants, Mayor Stothert has also set aside approximately $9,000 to assist organizations that will participate in National Night Out events in August. 

The Mayor’s 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.

Applications are reviewed by a team including the Mayor’s Grants staff, representatives of the Omaha Planning, Parks and Police Departments and community organizations.

 

GRANT RECIPIENTS:

AkSarBen-Elmwood Park:  Personal Safety, Home Security workshops     $500

Benson Ames Alliance & Military Avenue Association: The Peace Project Community Art at intersection of Saddle Creek Road, Fontenelle Blvd and Northwest Radial Highway  $3,000 each

Benson Neighborhood Association: Citizen Patrol radio equipment  $2,160

Benson Gardens Association:  Citizen Patrol equipment $3,995

Blackstone Neighborhood Association:   Safety Lighting-Phase one of 5-year project  $5,000

City Sprouts:   2015 Summer Internship Program   $4,995

Deer Park Neighborhood Association:    Expand Neighborhood Watch  $400

Dundee-Memorial Park Neighborhood Association:  Dodge Street Subway Renovation and LED Lighting for the Dodge Street Tunnel   $5,000

Elmwood Park Neighborhood Association:    Redevelopment Pathway Sidewalk construction  $4,845  

Leavenworth Neighborhood Association Association:     Expansion of Citizen Patrol and Safety equipment   $3,155

Long School Neighborhood Association:    Citizen Patrol radio equipment  $2,160

Montclair, Trendwood, Parkside, Georgetown Neighborhood Associations:  Citizen Patrol radio equipment  $4,320

Neighborhood Action & Fact Association:   “Better Light for the Night”at NAFA Headquarters   $1,960                         

Park East  Neighborhood Association:  CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, landscaping and  tree trimming  $1,300

Peony Park Neighborhood Association:     Citizen Patrol radios & equipment  $5,000

Prospect Village Neighborhood Association:   “The Pocket Park” for neighborhood events & activities  $4,700

Raven Oaks Improvement Association:    Reactivate Citizen Patrol and buy equipment  $1,299                             

South Omaha Business Association:  South Omaha Mural Project  $4,210

Sunny Slope-Sunny View Neighborhood Association: Neighborhood Watch materials and equipment  $1,700

MAYOR STOTHERT FUNDS ONE OMAHA; NEIGHBORHOOD COMMUNICATION, ADVOCACY AND EDUCATION

March 31, 2015 - If you’re an Omaha neighborhood in need of assistance, help is now available through ONE Omaha, a new citizen-driven initiative supported by the City of Omaha and the local philanthropic community.

The mission of ONE Omaha is to actively facilitate the development of neighborhoods in the City of Omaha through communication, education and advocacy, said Julie Smith, ONE Omaha program manager. She began her duties February 16.

The initiative’s launch is the result of two years of effort by a volunteer task force comprised of the city’s six neighborhood alliance leaders and others to fill the gap in services left by the closing of the Neighborhood Center in February 2013. The task force, known as the United Neighborhood Alliances of Omaha (UNAO), included Omaha City Councilman Chris Jerram, representatives from the Benson-Ames Alliance, Midtown Neighborhood Alliance, North Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, Northwest Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance, Southwest Omaha Neighborhood Alliance and Omaha by Design as well as various city staff.

Mayor Jean Stothert included $50,000 in the 2015 city budget to support the initiative.  "ONE Omaha will help neighborhoods and neighborhood alliances understand how to use public and private resources to improve the quality of life in Omaha," Mayor Stothert said. "It will result in stronger, safer, healthier neighborhoods." 

“Our goal was never to replicate the Neighborhood Center but to build upon its decade of service to the community and explore new models for meeting neighborhood need,” said Mike Battershell, chair of the task force.

ONE Omaha is that new model. Instead of creating a new stand-alone nonprofit, the initiative is housed with Nebraskans for Civic Reform (NCR) in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Founded in 2008, NCR is a group of dedicated and politically diverse Nebraska professionals committed to making civic institutions more inclusive among youth and historically disadvantaged and disengaged populations. It will act as ONE Omaha’s fiscal agent and oversee its daily operations.

 “This will allow ONE Omaha to focus our efforts on programming and relationship building in all corners of the community while keeping administrative overhead to a minimum,” Smith said. A UNO graduate, Smith most recently served as a service program coordinator and volunteer consultant at her alma mater. She expects to earn her master’s degree in urban studies from UNO this May.

 The task force and the City of Omaha have established a series of first-year ONE Omaha projects, each of which has a set of objectives and performance indicators so the initiative’s progress can be measured:

  • Quantify the capacity and contribution of Omaha's existing neighborhood associations
  • Create a proactive neighborhood advocacy program
  • Identify geographic areas of the city in need of leadership development
  • Improve the way neighbors communicate with each other and with the City of Omaha
  • Recognize the important contributions of neighborhoods to the City of Omaha to help sustain their volunteer effort
  • Help Omaha's neighborhoods understand and access available city services
  • Secure the future financial stability of ONE Omaha

“The neighborhood dynamic is changing, and ONE Omaha fully intends to use emerging technology and best practices to establish a baseline through its first-year projects that will help hone the focus of the initiative in subsequent years,” Battershell said. “Together, ONE Omaha and Nebraskans for Civic Reform can change the way neighbors interact with and serve the place they call home.”

With the establishment of the initiative, the UNAO Task Force will dissolve, and representatives from the city’s six neighborhood alliances will become members of the ONE Omaha Advisory Committee, which will also contain representatives from the Mayor’s Office, the city’s planning department and NCR. 

Funding for the ONE Omaha initiative is provided by the City of Omaha, the Peter Kiewit Foundation, an anonymous donor, a 2015 South Omaha Historical Grant and contributions from individuals, organizations and businesses. 

 

2015 NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT APPLICATION TO BE ANNOUNCED IN MAY

Crime Prevention and neighborhood safety will be the focus of the 2015 Mayor’s Neighborhood Grants program.

Mayor Jean Stothert will award $75,000 in grants to successful applicants.

“One of Omaha’s greatest assets is our strong network of neighborhood associations,” said Mayor Jean Stothert. “Crime prevention starts in the neighborhoods where we live. Working in partnership with the Omaha Police Department, we can make our city safer.”

Qualifying projects could include equipment and resources for citizen patrols and neighborhood watch groups, improved neighborhood lighting in common areas including neighborhood parks, or graffiti abatement.  The City will not provide funds for weapons.

Neighborhood associations registered and listed in the City of Omaha’s Neighborhood Directory are eligible to apply for grants up to $5000.  Applications are available on the links below.

A workshop for applicants will be held March 10 at the UNO BarbaraWeitz Community Engagement Center from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Representatives of the Omaha Police Department Crime Prevention Unit, the Mayor’s Grant team and the Omaha Planning Department will be available to answer questions.

Grant applications are due March 27th and will be reviewed by a team of city and community representatives. The recipients will be announced May 6.

In 2014, 46 neighborhood associations applied for grants;  26 projects received funding.

 

2015 Mayor's Grants Application

2015 Mayor's Grants Program Solicitation

https://planninghcd.cityofomaha.org/neighborhoods