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Citizens speak out on proposed Omaha city budget

Posted at 10:10 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 09:42:48-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - On Tuesday night, the citizens of Omaha let the city council know what they think of the city’s proposed budget both inside and outside the council chambers.

Though a few citizens say they believe the budget plan for 2022 and the Capital Improvement Program are fair, many are speaking against them with police budget being a sticking point just like it was last year.

Mayor Stothert is proposing an increase of 3.5% to the Omaha Police Department, money many speakers say they want to see go toward social programs addressing mental health and poverty.

“Funneling more money into the OPD is dangerous for communities of color when you are not drastically increasing funding to address the root causes of violence," said Brianna Full.

Another piece of the plan for next year that upset some citizens was the lack of money going toward expanded biking transportation in Omaha.

“I don’t see one single penny for protected bike lanes in the CIP," said Sarah Johnson. "Conversely we have $129 million for dedicated to storing people’s cars.”

As the council heard from citizens in the chambers for over two hours, a group of demonstrators chose to share their grievances on the street. Bear Alexander with the Revolutionary Action Party said he felt his comments would fall on deaf ears in the council chambers.

“If I come to them, and when I come to them, I have to make my oppression palatable," Alexander said. "I have to sanitize my oppression so that they can be the gatekeepers on the validation of that oppression.”

The city council will be discussing the budget at its next meeting on August 17th.

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