(Omaha, NE) -- Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announces her 2022 city budget.
At Tuesday's Omaha City Council meeting, Mayor Stothert laid out her plans for the city's finances for next year, which includes a property tax rate reduction and a delay the levy increase approved by voters in 2020 to fix Omaha streets. WOWT 6 News reports that Stothert told journalists during a budget briefing on Tuesday that this combination, “represents the most significant property tax relief actions in Omaha in 20-years.”
The mayor said that her team realizes that valuations for 45% of the properties in Omaha grew by around 4%, and that the 2% property tax rate reduction is one way to modestly reduce the impact on property owners. For a home valued around $150,000, that’s about $15 in savings per year.
Stothert says the plan to defer the levy increase, for the second year in a row, refers to the 5-year $200 million bond issue that was overwhelmingly approved by Omaha voters last year. “This budget focuses on recovery, reinvestment, and rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe we should lower the property tax rate whenever we can.”
Other highlights from the budget include increasing the city’s reserve funds to $38 million as a way to build the city’s safety net for emergencies. The $456 million general fund budget proposal is a 3.48% increase compared to 2021.
When it comes to specific departments, Omaha Police budget increases 3.25% to $170 million. The number of sworn officers will stay the same: 906. “You cannot have a safe city without law enforcement,” she said.
The budget also includes continued support in mental health and crisis interventions with how the police respond to those incidents. The fire department’s budget is a 4% increase to $121 million.
The City Council will take the next five weeks to examine the budget and offer potential changes.