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Mayor addresses the Omaha City Council regarding 2022 budget; property tax rates expected to go down

Posted at 3:05 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 19:27:12-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Mayor Jean Stothert presented the city budget for 2022 to the Omaha City Council on Tuesday afternoon.

The proposed budget for 2022 has a general fund of $456 million.

"This budget focuses on recovery, reinvestment, and rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic," Mayor Stothert said.

During a press briefing earlier in the day, Stothert revealed that property tax rates for city residents will go down 2% next year. For a house valued at $200,000, the levy in 2022 will be $938 compared to $958 in 2021.

This is the third tax rate reduction since 2015.

"We've done it three times and I think that's really significant. The levy is the lowest it's been in 20 years, I think that's significant. We try to lower the property tax rate that we have control over, whenever we can," Mayor Stothert said.

The police department budget will increase 3.25% to $169.9 million, including money for the mental health co-responder program, the call center, and new cruisers.

"I said last year that defunding the police was reckless and irresponsible and I would not do it. We need to fund the police department adequately. You can not have a safe city without law enforcement," Mayor Stothert said. "If you look at what mayors did all over the country and had a knee-jerk reaction and cut the budget, what has happened over the past year? Crime has skyrocketed in those cities and now they're adding more money to the budget."

The fire department budget will go up by 4% to $120.7 million.

Within the Capital Improvement Program, Mayor Stothert would like to look at adding a public safety headquarters that could possibly house both the police and fire departments.

The public works department, parks department, and planning department will all see an increase in staff under the proposed budget. The mayor also anticipates the Small Emerging Businesses and Economic Equity and Improvement Plan programs will continue to grow.

How do you feel about the possibility of property tax rates being reduced? Visit our online poll to weigh in and we'll have the poll results in the 6 p.m. newscast.