Omaha's 2014 budget: property and sales taxes, health care costs pose challenge

Jul 25, 2013

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert says there will be several challenges in the 2014 budget year.

Stothert gave her first budget presentation Tuesday to the City Council. The $340 million general fund budget projects property and sales tax revenue will be nearly flat. Mayor Stothert says health care costs are projected to be $59.5 million dollars in 2014.

“That’s up over seven percent in just one year. Several of you share my goal in moving all city employees to the same health care plan. This move alone will give significant savings to the taxpayers, while ensuring consistent treatment for all employees with this important benefit that they receive.”

Stothert says another challenge is the cost of the combined sewer overflow project, which will cost the city $175 million next year.

She told the City Council that less property tax revenue is anticipated in 2014, along with flat sales tax revenue.

“We project the net city sales tax revenues to be a big challenge. City sales tax collections alone are projected to increase 4 million dollars or about 3 percent. However, when netted against much higher LB 775 and LB 312 payments that are made to the state of Nebraska, our net sales tax figure will remain unchanged from flat when compared to the 2013 budget.”

The 2014 budget allocates $10.4 million dollars to the Omaha Public Library, with all branches maintaining their regular operating hours.  The Mayor’s Office budget was cut 11 percent. The proposal also puts more funding toward demolition of dilapidated homes.

A public hearing on the 2014 budget is August 13 at 7pm.