Omaha's 2011 budget includes a nine percent property tax increase

Omaha, NE – Omaha's 2011 budget projects a deficit of $21.6 million in the city's general fund and $34 million overall.

Mayor Jim Suttle presented the budget plan Tuesday afternoon to the City Council. Suttle wants to raise property taxes 9.3%, raise wheel taxes by $23 on passenger and commercial vehicles, and implement a 4% restaurant tax to fix the budget shortfall.

Suttle says the property tax, which amounts to an additional 4.4 cents on $100 of assessed valuation, is reasonable. Budget materials released by the City estimate that could bring in $12 million a year.

If approved, the wheel tax for passenger and commercial vehicles would increase to $58 and $77 per year respectively. The tax for all other vehicles would increase by ten dollars. That would bring in an estimated $8.5 million a year.

The four percent restaurant tax would generate $23 million a year, according to city budget materials. Mayor Suttle says ticket sales and non-profit organizations would be exempt from the tax. About $2.3 million of the tax revenue would go to the Omaha Convention and Visitors' Bureau for advertising.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for August tenth. Four community budget forums are also planned. The first is Thursday evening at Millard South High School. Next week's forums are Monday at Central High School and Thursday at Westside High School. The final budget forum is August second at South High School. Each forum begins at 6:30 pm.