Omaha City Council Approves A "Fiscally Responsible" Budget
2013 Budget Includes No New Taxes
2013 Budget Includes No New Taxes Video by kmtv.comvideo
Omaha, NE -- The Omaha City Council approved a 2013 budget on Tuesday, and it includes no new taxes. It does take away those controversial pay raises to the mayor's top staff.
Omaha City Council Members made a lot of changes to Mayor Jim Suttle's proposed 2013 budget.
Councilman Thomas Mulligan described the revised budget as "about responsible spending".
Everyone voted in favor of slashing the mayor's general office budget by $84,000. That will take away the pay raises that Mayor Suttle granted his Chief of Staff, Finance and Public Works Directors. Mayor Suttle's office says he's not going to fight them on it. Spokeswoman Aida Amoura Rezac said, "He's going to respect that this time around but what he's trying to say to the city council is we need to move forward we've got way too many things to worry about than this."
Mayor Suttle is happy the council passed additional funding for initiatives like tearing down condemned homes. The new budget for the Planning Housing and Community Development will be over $600,000. Councilman Chris Jerram supported the amendment calling the condemned homes "a horrible blight". He agreed with fellow members that the homes are a danger to the public, and firefighters because arsonists target them. Councilman Pete Festersen said, "We're hopeful that this will bring another 70-80 condemned houses across the city next year, it's a very important neighborhood, and public safety issue."
Omaha City Council also approved more taxpayer money to go into the Capital Improvement Program to improve areas like Benson and 16th Street in downtown. "It's a huge vote of confidence in Benson, it's the hottest spot in town for economic development and business development. What this does is, restore an important project to 63rd and Northwest Radial and keep that momentum going and be great for the business district," said Festersen.
After much debate, the council also voted to add $500,000 to the cities Conventions and Tourism Bureau. Mayoral hopeful Jean Stothert voted against the amendment. "It would be much more fiscally responsible to put it in cash reserve and save it," said the councilwoman.
"The City of Omaha needs to step-up and help promote tourism within the city. We heard a lot of discussion, we've had a lot of calls to help because of the restaurant tax that we implemented, and to give back to the industry some of the funds that were taken in under the restaurant tax," said Councilman Mulligan.
The amended budget will go to Mayor Suttle for any veto's, but he is expected to sign the 2013 budget.
Reported By: Liz Dorland, email@example.com