Property, restaurant, wheel taxes remain in 2011 budget plan

Omaha, NE – It'll cost more to own a home, eat out, and register your vehicle in Omaha if changes made to the 2011 budget stand.

Omaha City Councilmen approved an amended budget plan at Tuesday's meeting. It raises Omaha's property tax rate by 2.3 cents. That's less than the 4.4 cents Mayor Jim Suttle requested. But other amendments to the city's spending plan mean the property tax levy ultimately will be more than that amount.

Councilmen narrowly approved a 2.5 percent restaurant tax. It'll take the place of the original 4 percent tax proposal. That tax drew criticism from restaurant owners and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce because of its possible impact on business. Also, Omahans will pay 15 dollars more each year to register their vehicles with the city. A 23 dollar wheel tax increase for passenger vehicles was amended to that amount.

But paying for maintenance of Omaha's streets won't just be the responsibility of residents. Councilmen also approved an occupation tax. People who live outside Omaha but work in the city more than 30 days a year will pay an annual vehicle registration fee to the city.

In a statement on the Council's amended budget, Mayor Jim Suttle says "I will review their changes in the recommended budget and will respond within an appropriate time frame." Suttle gave no indication of what, if any, items he may veto.

The Council's amended budget is out of balance by more than one million dollars. State law requires Omaha's budget to be balanced.