Omaha mayoral candidate profile: Heath Mello

Posted at 4:32 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 19:46:56-04

From the legislative chamber at the Capitol in Lincoln to city hall in Omaha.

Mayoral candidate Heath Mello wants a change in city leadership.

“While Omaha is doing okay we have some fairly significant challenges that are still confronting the city,” said Mello.

Some of those challenges Mello said are his top priority- fixing the city’s streets and looking at public-private partnerships to fix them.

“To find a more innovative approach to see more outcomes based on where we’re spending money as well as looking at other opportunities we have in partnering with the state government, federal government and other area local governments to truly rebuild the infrastructure across the city,” said Mello.

Another priority for Mello is developing Omaha’;s downtown core. He’s concerned about the loss of Fortune 500 company ConAgra in 2015 and HDR opting out downtown. Mello said he wants to listen to the public before making major decisions.

“About what they want to see, what they want the city to build and rebuild and focus on to truly rebuild our downtown for the future,” said Mello.

Seven years in, the 2.5-percent restaurant tax brings in roughly $32-million dollars a year, Mello said that’s too much for the city to bring in, “We’ll cap that growth at 1.75-percent and anything over that cap will start lowering what everyone pays on the restaurant tax moving forward.”

Ensuring police and fire can do their job affectively is another priority for Mello saying he’ll bring in an independent perspective to look at staffing and equipment, “Realizing for us in order to build a 5th police precinct, we’re going to have to build more capacity and also looking at new technology looking at new analytic approaches looking at even staffing schedules.”

Being able to build a census is something Mello said separates him from the current mayor, “That can facilitate and convene different opinions different stakeholders and try and find a way forward through some very thorny issues.”


"We as a city are going to have to put a re-newed focus on recycling, establish city-wide recycling moving forward and making sur eit’s easy for people to recycle at their homes but businesses and public spaces around the city," said Mello.


"The concerns with response times both with police and fire in the western end of the city and I want to make sure we’re able to reduce those response times build more capacity before we look to do any more annexation in my administration," said Mello.


"I think there's opportunities for us to work with the private sector and the philantropic community to fund this transportation economic development initive in Midtown that would really help hopefully revitialize Midtown and downtown over a period of years," said Mello.


"We’re going to have to get to the root causes of crime in Omaha and we’re going to have to do it in a city-wide approach and that’s ensuring in every zip code in the city we’ve got living wage jobs, access to behavioral healthcare, access to reliable transportation and access to quality affordable housing," said Mello.

The primaries are on April 4th, the general election May 9th.