Parking fees, higher taxes proposed to fill budget gaps

Omaha, NE – Omaha has a $5 million budget shortfall this fiscal year and a projected $11 million shortfall in 2010.

Wednesday, Mayor Jim Suttle unveiled plans to fill the budget gaps. Among the options for the current fiscal year are a two-dollar fee increase for parking in city lots and garages. Wage freezes, fire alarm fees, and ending financial support for the Convention and Visitors' Bureau are also options.

Mayor Suttle also wants wage freezes included in the 2010 budget, along with possible entertainment, occupation, or property tax increases. Suttle estimates a wage freeze could save the city $5 million. A two percent entertainment tax could generate $10 million and a property tax $6.2 million.

Suttle says he's taking a wage freeze along with his staff. He says layoffs are possible if city employees don't accept a wage freeze. But Suttle acknowledges that layoffs are a last resort and generally are not cost-effective.

Click on the link above to listen to Mayor Suttle's press conference.