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Council to hear budget ideas from public

Posted at 5:49 PM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 19:24:31-04

A budget meeting on Mayor Jean Stothert’s proposal is set for Tuesday evening in front of the Omaha City Council.  It is open to the public and attendees can tell the city council anything they’re concerned about or would like to support in the budget.

The mayor's 2017 fiscal proposal anticipates spending $852 million.  It's a 4% increase over last year, but it also indicates it would bring in 5% more compared to last year.

A major bright spot is the mayor proposes a 2% property tax decrease, but the controversial Restaurant Tax would stay.

Councilman Chris Jerram says he will draft an amendment to use about .5% of that money of the decrease, or $750,000 for roads since his constituents want the streets fixed.

"Take a piece of the property tax reduction and apply it to the street surfacing program both in the residential and the arterials so that we can make an even greater impact than what the mayor's proposing,” Jerram explained.

The 2% tax reduction would equate to about $20 per $100,000 of property value so if Jerram's change passes it would cost about $5 a year per $100,000 of value.

Doug Kagan of NE Taxpayers for Freedom disagrees saying Mayor Stothert's put a lot of money into road maintenance and repair.  He says the budget is very transparent and going in a positive direction, but long-term goals could save more money.

"One of the suggestions we're making is that they should merge the City Law Department with the County Attorney’s Office because that would save money,” Kagan described.  "Have desk audits for every employee to see if everyone has enough work to do 8 hours a day.  Also don't let employees have a landline and cell phone."

Mayor Stothert’s office says that no budget amendments have been submitted yet, but councilmembers have until next Wednesday.