Update: City Council Hears Public Input On Omaha's 2015 Budget

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UPDATE: The Omaha City Council heard public input on the 2015 Budget at a City Council Meeting on Tuesday.

People spoke out about their opposition to possible budget cuts of 10% for materials at the Omaha Public Library.

Dozens also showed up in support of keeping the Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator Position, which is set to be eliminated in the 2015 Budget.

Supporters of the Great Plains Black History Museum were also present, asking to be included in the 2015 Budget.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert is touting a 2% property tax reduction as a key feature to her to 2015 budget presented to the city council Tuesday afternoon.

The entire budget at $348.3M is a 2.3% increase from 2014’s budget of $340.6M. The mayor says her focus was to make city government more efficient and leaner.

The mayor called the property tax reduction “modest”, but added “it’s the direction we’re going that’s important.” For example, a $200,000 home would see an annual savings of $20.

Other highlights from the proposed budget included putting more police officers on the street. The plan would add 21 new officers to the streets in 2015. There’s currently a class set to be on the street in next month that would put the number of police officers in Omaha at 804.

The city also put money aside to address any wage increases that may come up in labor contracts. By the end of the year, all labor contracts will have expired. The mayor said her team is currently in negotiations with all of them. “We don’t have a fix for the civilians’ yet,” said the mayor, when talking about the civilian pension plan.

The restaurant tax is expected to bring in $29M in 2015 – a 4.7% increase. The restaurant tax makes up 3% of the budget.

The mayor, who campaigned against the tax, said she hasn’t had enough time in office to figure out how make up for the huge revenue stream. The 2015 budget is the first full budget assembled by her team.