Omaha Public Radio News
3:16 am
Tue September 30, 2008

Financial crisis could affect Omaha's projects, ability to pay workers

Omaha, NE – The financial market troubles could trickle down to Omaha's economy, according to city officials.

Mayor Mike Fahey and City Finance Director Carol Ebdon say the market turmoil is driving up rates and making it difficult to secure long-term credit. Fahey says that's a problem as Omaha prepares to borrow $68 million next month for new and ongoing projects. If the city has to delay borrowing, it could mean the projects are delayed which means sewer, street, library and building projects might not be done on time.

Fahey says delayed projects mean fewer jobs for construction workers. And continuing turmoil could affect future projects. Ebdon says the city plans to borrow money next spring to finance the new downtown stadium.

Omaha's two pension funds are also impacted by the markets. Fahey says this year alone, the police and fire fund has lost $72 million. An additional $45 million was lost in the civilian fund. He says cash and investments also aren't safe, and that could impact the city's ability to pay employees and vendors.