New City of Omaha spending, and a few cuts, could be inserted into next year’s proposed budget by the City Council.
Council members will seek to add another city prosecutor position and increase funding available to demolish condemned properties. Another proposal would allocate an extra half-million dollars to the city’s convention and visitors department.
Council members will also discuss a way to cut back salary increases granted to a handful of top city officials — and consider eliminating some funding for city lobbying.
Those are among the budget amendments the council will debate and vote on Tuesday as it deliberates Mayor Jim Suttle’s full budget proposal for 2013.
Money for the proposals would come from a variety of sources — the council would consider increasing tax revenue projections in some cases, or take money from contingency funds or other accounts.
One proposal, sponsored by council President Tom Mulligan and members Jean Stothert and Franklin Thompson, would reduce allocations in four departments’ personnel budgets to reduce salaries for Suttle’s chief of staff and the city’s finance, library and public works directors.
Suttle awarded pay raises to those officials earlier this year and included them in his 2013 budget. But many of them had gone into effect in January without the public’s knowledge.
Even if that resolution is approved, Suttle still has the authority to move money within a department’s budget to pay the officials. The council already adopted a resolution to scold Suttle for quietly granting the pay increases and to demand future transparency.
Another resolution would add $200,000 to the city’s budget to demolish condemned properties around the city. Suttle’s proposed budget included $300,000 in city funds plus $200,000 in federal grants to work down the list of more than 650 properties on the city’s demolition list.
The extra demolition money would come largely from increasing the city’s estimate of how much property tax revenue it would collect. Council members also will consider increasing the revenue estimate from late wheel tax fees to fund a $300,000 increase in the street maintenance fund.
To add a prosecutor to the Law Department, council members will consider removing roughly $80,000 from the Police Department’s overtime budget.
A $500,000 increase to the advertising and promotional efforts of the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau would be offset by increases in tax revenue estimates, $60,000 from the city’s contingency fund and a reduction in negotiation expenses, the proposal says.
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