City Bond Issues Up For Vote Soon

By: Nadia Singh Email
By: Nadia Singh Email

From the potholes many Omahans continue to encounter on their way to work to the libraries and parks their children play in, the City of Omaha has many projects to finance. But the question remains, should they borrow the money?

The residents of Omaha will soon have a chance to vote on whether the City should indeed borrow close to $80 million to fund what the city is calling its Capital Improvement Project. The project strives to improve the City's infrastructure and fund several capital improvement projects.

The Mayor's office say taxpayers won't be hurt financially if they vote in favor of the bond. They say language on the ballot actually prohibits a hike in the property tax rate and does not include tax increases at all. It's what officials are calling a "revenue neutral" approach.

Here's a breakdown of how the $79.3 million bond will be allocated if approved:

$44 million for streets and freeways
$14 million for parks and recreation
Roughly $8 million for police and fire stations, libraries and other city buildings
$8 million for sewers
Close to $5 million is set to pay for public safety equipment and projects.

Ron Gerard, the Mayor's spokesperson says the money will fix short and long term problems.

"There are short term, day to day within the budget year expenditures and there are long term expenditures that go out over several years; those are called capital improvement projects and this is what this bond offering is aimed at-long term capital improvement program to maintain the city's infrastructure."

A public hearing on the bond issue is scheduled for February 2nd. It will then go before the city council for vote on February 9th. The special elecltion is slated for May 11th.

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