Public hearing Tuesday on 2011 Omaha budget

Omaha, NE – A public hearing on Omaha's 2011 budget is tomorrow evening.

Mayor Suttle's 2011 budget proposal has a $34 million dollar deficit. To fill the budget gap, Suttle wants a nine-percent increase in the property tax, a $23 dollar wheel tax increase, and a four-percent restaurant tax. Those proposals were questioned during four recent public forums on the budget.

Mayor Suttle says if those tax proposals don't pass, significant cuts to services will be necessary. "Then we are back to, in essence, the problem being in front of us, and we are at the bottom of the barrel as far as cutting and trimming," Suttle says. "There's no way we can use cutting and trimming of a thousand dollars here or ten thousand dollars there to get to 34 million, so the quality of life will have to be adjusted."

Suttle wants the Legislature to allow Omaha to put a sales tax increase before voters. But Senator Mike Flood says that's unlikely to happen during the coming session.

The Omaha City Council could vote on the budget in two weeks.