Annexation and the Mayor's Budget Topics at Public Hearing

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Omaha City Council will consider the mayor's annexation plan and 2015 budget Tuesday in a public hearing.

The annexation plan, which is the largest in years, includes adding 13 residential neighborhoods and four business parks to Omaha.

The city says, the property will bring more than 932 million dollars in tax valuation to the city.

However, City Council president Pete Festersen said they will have to consider if the city can handle the new property.

"We want to make sure that the services being provided to those areas are what they would expect to receive and that it's sustainable from the perspective of the rest of the city. That they are getting adequate police services, and street services and all those things that people count on and it doesn't negatively impact those living in the city too," said Festersen.

Last month, much of the city saw a yard waste backup. Deffenbaugh Industries, which collects trash for the city, said heavy rain and a lack of drivers caused the backup. Deffenbaugh told WOWT 6 News that they planned to hire the needed drivers by August. We called to check on the status of the hiring but have not yet heard back.

Miracle Hills golf course will remain in the proposal for the city to consider. The planning board has asked for the property to be removed.

Another issue on the packed agenda is an increased fine for littering in city parks. The plan would raise the fine from $100 to $250.

At 7 o'clock, there will be a public hearing about the mayor's 2015 budget.

Two issues have drawn criticism: the elimination of the bike coordinator position in the new budget and library cuts. This position, held by Carlos Morales, acts as a voice for bicyclists in City Planning. The mayor has proposed creating a volunteer committee instead of a permanent position. Bicyclists rallied Sunday in support of the position.

The Omaha Public Library also faces cuts. Executive Director, Gary Wasdin, said the new budget would cause a 10 percent cut to "materials." This includes books, e-books, magazines and digital materials.

Wasdin said the library has been more popular than ever, and the cuts will most likely cause longer wait-lists on popular titles, and cuts to programs.

"You see increasing demand and you'd like to be able to meet that with increase support and increase services and resources, so it's important that we do match that up with what people expect from us," said Wasdin.

The materials cut was in lieu of cutting staff, which could cause libraries to close and shorter hours.

"We know really from everything on a day to day basis how much people value the staff because that is what is required to keep the buildings open so that's why we made the decision not to eliminate any staff positions and keep the libraries open," said Wasdin.

The proposed areas of annexation:
Residential:

Riverside Hills, Near 222nd & Pacific
Brookhaven, South of 108th & Q
Turtle Creek, South of 96th & Q
Harper Valley, South of 48th & Q
Eagle Run II, South of 144th & Maple
Cambridge Estates, 168th & Pacific
Woodbridge, North of 72nd & Crown Point
Mission Park, South of 168th & Q
Baywood, North of 180th & F
Linden Estates (2nd addition), North of Dodge - 132nd to 144th
Pacific Springs, North of 160th & Pacific
Skyline Meadows, Near 222nd & West Dodge
Arbor Oaks, Northwest of 144th & Maple
Area Northeast of 60th & Harrison
Business Parks:

Southwestern Plaza, South of 144th & F
Altech Business Park, North of 144th & F
I-80 Business Park, Near 115th, South of Q
Blondo 108th Business Park, 108th & Blondo


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