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Plan passed for spending $853 million in taxes

Posted at 6:47 PM, Aug 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-23 19:47:38-04
The Omaha City Council approved a plan for spending $853 million of your tax dollars.
 
Mayor Jean Stothert doesn’t get the full property tax cut she wanted.
 
Homeowners will still get a reduction on property taxes and some city council members will get the extra money they want for street repairs. 
 
Stothert previously said she'd veto an amendment to change her 2 percent property tax cut to 1.5 percent, freeing about $798,000 for street repairs.  
 
The mayor signed the budget Tuesday, accepting the 1.5 percent property tax cut.
 
"We think it's a good budget that's been proposed, we just want to make sure we have a few ideas around violence prevention and police community relations that get included and a broader conversation about our streets,” Festersen said. “I think we all believe we can do a better job with our streets 
 
Among those amendments is $20,000 for the PACE program where volunteer police officers get kids off the streets and into sports.
 
Another amendment is about $40,000 to reduce the likeliness criminal offenders will reoffend when they’re released from prison. 
 
The original budget included about $18,000 for the program to reduce recidivism, but Council President Ben Gray wanted to double that to strengthen efforts.
 
"To try and really make a dent in not having people go back to the penitentiary, ending that revolving door deal that goes on in the criminal justice system,” Gray said.
 
While there are many issues on the minds of his constituents, Gray says street repairs are a top concern.  
 
"Streets are a big deal for us,” Gray said. “We've got some older streets that need to be resurfaced or repaired. We have a number of those in the district and I think there's been some good work on it up until now. That work has been miniscule in what needs to occur. We're always looking for dollars to improve streets. That's the big deal there." 
 
Another amendment is to increase funds for parks to encourage equal funding across neighborhoods and create a two week pilot project in south Omaha to meet the need for kids and recreation.