OMAHA, (Neb.) — For years, if you popped your tire on a pothole, you had to pay for it.
“We have never paid claims for potholes and the law is behind us on that,” said Mayor Jean Stothert.
But all of that changed on March 18th, when the mayor announced the city would start approving claims filed against the city.
"We had extraordinary circumstances and when we do, we take some extraordinary measures,” said Stothert.
Before the mayor announced the change in policy, 59 claims had been filed against the city for 2019. Assistant City Attorney Jeff Bloom says that number is now up to 2,293 with 15 to 20 more claims coming in every day. Bloom says the city's claims department has been working non-stop on these claims. The city has so many claims, the city did something it has never done. It transferred two police officers to its claims department.
“For what it’s worth, I mean we knew what to expect as far as, we didn’t know the exact number, but we knew that there would be some reaction to that. As far as expressing concern, we frequently have conversations with the mayor as far as about decisions that are made... I’m certain she (Mayor Stothert) knows as far as our opinion on that and we know her opinion on things and we proceed from there.” said Bloom.
At last check, the city had closed a little more than 400 of the nearly 2,300 claims.