The Omaha City Council overrode Mayor Jean Stothert's veto of $175,000 in library funding Tuesday, putting that money toward a material acquisition budget that was due to be cut.
Council members praised the library system, saying it's an important part of the Omaha community.
"I think reading and material like that is significant if we're going to move the City of Omaha ahead," Councilman Rich Pahls said.
Along with Pahls, council members Pete Festersen, Ben Gray, Garry Gernandt and Chris Jerram voted to override the veto. Franklin Thompson and Aimee Melton voted against the override.
Omahans are "very passionate about our library system," said Jerram, who sponsored the amendment.
The council failed to override the mayor's other vetoes. That means there will not be funding for a sustainability coordinator or the Great Plains Black History Museum in next year's city budget.
There also will not be funding for a bicycle-pedestrian manager in the Public Works Department, though Stothert said she plans to have a Planning Department employee fill a similar role.
Stothert said she's pleased that the budget has finally been approved.
But the mayor reiterated her disagreement with the council over library funding. She said the library director has the discretion to buy more materials - even with the cut - if he chose to spend less money elsewhere.
"I felt like the library was well-funded," Stothert said.
In vetoing several items from the budget, she argued that any extra money should go into the city's cash reserves.
Stothert said she's worried about the city's bond rating, which already has been downgraded.
Bond raters are worried about the city's reserve level and would want the city to focus on saving money, she said.
But Festersen, the council president, said the council made its changes "in a responsible manner." And he argued that the reductions in the mayor's proposed addition to the contingency fund don't amount to much of the overall budget.
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