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Live reporting by Anton Johnson
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Anton Johnson @AntonIsWriting
Good evening, I’ll be live-tweeting tonight’s city budget hearing for @oma_documenters

You can follow along at home here:…

06:30 PM Aug 8, 2023 CDT

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Speakers will have three minutes for testimony, and the City Council will use a light system to warn speakers when their time is up
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You can find the 2024 recommended budget and 2024-2029 Capital Improvement Program here:…
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Starting with proponents, Nancy Hintz from the Nebraska Humane Society thanked the city for partnering to care for animals
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Rebecca Barrientos-Patlan thanked the City Council for working for South Omaha without a District 4 representative
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Barrientos-Parlan said the police department should bring back the nuisance task force
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The first opponent is Doug Kagan from Nebraska Taxpayer’s for Freedom. Kagan said there is some good in the budget, but there’s still spending that could be cut.
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Kagan said the money that will go to the streetcar could instead go to a tax decrease
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Opponent Linda Borz said the cut to the property tax levy is “minuscule” compared to increasing property valuation
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She also said a pay increase for police officers is necessary, but it shouldn’t be higher than other similarly sized cities bc cost of living isn’t as high in Omaha
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Dennis Schleiz said his property tax bill will still go up despite the tax levy cut, and asked the city to decrease the levy more
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Kyra Britt said she doesn’t support the amount of money going to the Nebraska Humane Society. She said she supports their work, but they dont spend their money correctly
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Britt is also opposed to the budget increase for Omaha police. She said the city should reallocate more to education and public services like parks and libraries
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She added that the city needs to do more for the unhoused population
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Larry Storer asked that they spend money improving the sound system in the legislative chambers
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Storer said he’d be opposed to any reductions to the police budget
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Isabella Manhart, a resident of District 4, said it isn’t fair that they are penalized for not having a representative. They asked that the vote in the budget be delayed until District 4 has a representative
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Manhart said that climate isn’t mentioned in the budget, and the city needs to get the climate action plan ready soon
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There are only seven officers for mental health coresponse, so if they increase the police budget it should go to provide that 24/7, Manhart said
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Lawrence Shackman said the city needs to provide funding for a spay-neuter center to control the community cat population
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Gab Rima said funding for the implementation of the climate action plan isn’t in the budget, meaning it won’t be funded until next fiscal year
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Rima said extreme cold temperatures in the winter are dangerous for unhoused people, so the city needs to fund more services
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Our last speaker, opponent Luis Jimenez said there should be more urban design like trees between curbs and sidewalks. He also said the city should partner more with the county on mental health
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Jimenez said the city should also look at more options for addressing traffic downtown
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Meeting adjourned at 7:01 pm