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Councilmember Festersen frustrated over lack of action on Omaha climate plan, calls for immediate funding

Posted at 8:10 AM, Aug 26, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It was back in November that the Omaha City Council signaled their support for a climate action plan for the city.

From November: Omaha votes in support of climate action plan, a process that has already started

Mayor Jean Stothert’s office told 3 News Now the Metro Smart Cities Steering Committee has a draft version of a request for proposal to hire a consultant. It needs approval at the next of that group in September.

That committee is co-chaired by Stothert and made up of movers and shakers from the region. After approval, the call for bids would be posted. A near-ready request for proposal could mean there's been sufficient fundraising, but mayor's office staffers did not respond to 3 News Now's requests for more information this week. The mayor's office said in late July that approval was expected in August.

But City Council President Pete Festersen said he doesn't want to wait any longer to fund a consultant. He proposed a budget amendment to immediately fund the effort. He says it will be on the Sept. 13 agenda.

"I think we were told it'd only be a few months at that point, which we found acceptable," Festersen said. "Although we wanted to make sure there was urgency around it. So at this point, it's been really frustrating as to why we haven't seen that move forward yet."

The council was always willing to fund it, Festersen said.

"We were told it was moving forward and there'd probably be some partnerships around it and that's fine," he said. "But at this point we're willing to fund the whole study to get it moving as fast as possible."

David Corbin of the Nebraska Sierra Club shares Festersen's frustration.

"It looks like they're not even planning to plan," Corbin said. "It'd be laughable if it wasn't such a serious issue."

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