Capitol District occupation tax vote delayed

Posted at 11:22 AM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 12:36:02-04

The Omaha city council voted 4-3 to delay the vote on the proposed occupation tax ordinance for the Capitol District.

It's a tax for developers who want help funding construction projects. 

Assistant city attorney Jennifer Taylor said the 'enhanced employment area' is a way to help pay back the initial funding of the developments. 

"Can be used for pedestrian spaces, public plazas, parking facilities they are allowed to use it for marketing so it's intended to be used for developments that are of significant size as well. So they need to have a multi-million dollar investment and create a significant amount of jobs before you can utilize this tool," explained Taylor. 
But on Tuesday on the final reading of the ordinance, council members were confused and concerned with how this tax would be implemented.
"How is a bookkeeper for one of these businesses supposed to know how exactly to collect the tax?," said councilwoman Aimee Melton.
There appeared to be an amendment dealing partially with a 20-year sunset clause among other clarifying items that came as a shock to some members.
"As were dealing with all these things theres been an amendment to the whole that, I'm not placing blame on anybody I wasn't aware of the amendment of the whole until 5 minutes ago," said councilman Pete Festersen.
Capitol District developer Mike Moylan said he was disappointed by the vote but understands since this is the first time the council is going through this process, it can take some time.

In the ordinance the imposed tax could either be passed on to the consumer or the business could eat the cost.

Lincoln and Gretna have both used the occupation tax for different developments.

The next time the city council will take up this ordinance will be on July 18th.