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Omaha City Council reaffirms support for climate plan; resolution asks for action by end of year

A consultant won't be hired until early 2023, the mayor's office says
Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 13, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Omaha City Council reaffirmed its support for a climate action plan on Tuesday, in a 4 to 3 vote.

The resolution asks for a consultant for the plan to be funded immediately and hired by the end of the year. But it won't change anything.

Many supporters said they saw a lack of progress since the city first started writing the request for bids in July 2021 and the city council first signaled its support in November 2021, voting 6-1.

A representative from Mayor Jean Stothert's office, Thomas Warren, said that regardless of the result of the vote, they'd proceed on their schedule.

The latest request for bids is expected to be approved by an advisory group co-chaired by the mayor, Metro Smart Cities, on Sept. 21, Warren said.

"It will likely take a few months for the consultant to be hired," he said. "Which means we'll be into 2023 ... which will prohibit us from funding the position in the 2022 fiscal year (also calendar year 2022)."

He said they'd consider the funding source at that time.

"Certainly it is a priority for Mayor Stothert," Warren said. "We will proceed based on the recommendation of the advisory committee as well as the consultant."

City Council President Pete Festersen, who introduced today's agenda item and has been critical of slow-moving progress, said a climate plan will help the city take advantage of federal dollars from recent legislation.

Councilmembers Brinker Harding, Aimee Melton, and Don Rowe voted in opposition, each citing concerns that the agenda item was not necessary or impactful because of the existing timeline.

"This is clearly a hot topic, no pun intended," Rowe said. "I don't know that I need to vote yes on this, because we're already in a position that we're going to have that in place."

Warren said "part of the delay" is because the Metro Smart Cities advisory committee considered a regional plan, then pivoted to a City of Omaha plan after deliberation.

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

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