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Mayor Stothert: Progress on Omaha climate action plan not slow; Group finalizes consultant search document

Posted at 7:40 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 20:52:41-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Since April 2021, work toward creating a document to be used to solicit bids to hire a consultant for a climate action plan for Omaha has been in progress, Mayor Jean Stothert said Wednesday.

Now, it's been finalized. Stothert said the Metro Smart Cities Advisory Committee approved a final version on Wednesday, after making some changes in the closed-door meeting of regional mayors, business leaders, and other influential people.

In light of criticism from activists and City Council President Pete Festersen that the progress has been slow, the mayor disagrees.

"It's really not taking long," Stothert told four TV stations and the Omaha World-Herald on Wednesday. "I don't think it's taking long at all."

It was back in November that the city council first indicated support for a plan. Festersen said the council was told to expect the request for proposal document finalized Wednesday a few months after the November meeting.

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

But Stothert said climate initiatives are a priority to her and the city. She provided a six-page document highlighting those efforts. It includes: launching ORBT, improving traffic signals to reduce idling, dedicated bike lane expansion, and expanding the city's recycling program, to name a few. The full document is below.

Last week, the city council again signaled its support for a climate action plan. It requested the consultant to be funded and hired by the end of 2022. Stothert said city funding will be used, but not from this year's budget as the council requested.

Learn more: Omaha could have climate plan consultant by late January, councilman has resolution to push for it sooner

The council's action has no binding effect, Stothert pointed out, and the city will stick to this timeline, including hiring a consultant early next year and completing the climate plan by 2024

Stothert said the full document won't be provided until Thursday so changes from Wednesday's meeting can be implemented. But a cover sheet showing a scope of services was provided, listing the following tasks for a consultant: (1) Project management and technical guidance. (2) Assessment and alignment. (3) Public engagement. (4) Greenhouse gases baseless inventory. (5) Metrics reporting toolkit. (6) Climate action and resilience plan.

Stothert's full comments are below

Mayor Jean Stothert full press conference on city climate plan

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