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A sign reading "POTHOLE MINEFIELD AHEAD" warns motorists who pass by potholes on South 168th Street on April 1, 2019.

The City of Omaha will no longer pay pothole claims filed by motorists whose vehicles were damaged by the deluge of potholes across the city this spring.

Starting Saturday, the city will return to its long-standing policy of not paying out claims for vehicle damage.

In March, The World-Herald examined the last five years of pothole claims and found that the city rejected every single one.

A day later, Mayor Jean Stothert announced that the city would pay valid pothole claims.

Since Jan. 1, the backdate when Stothert said the city would honor the claims, 2,393 claims have been filed.

More than half have been reviewed and assigned claim numbers, but only 104 have been given payment offers, which total $31,650.33. Of that amount, officials said the city has paid motorists $21,620.91, which is from the city’s contingency fund.

The other claims are being processed.

Officials denied 156 claims for various reasons, like the pothole was in a private parking lot, not within city limits or on state highways. They also denied claims if the pothole itself wasn’t reported to the city previously or if the person who filed the claim wasn’t the owner of the vehicle.

“Every claim is thoroughly reviewed,” Stothert said in a press release. “We are spending taxpayer dollars, and we must be sure we are paying for damage that can be directly attributed to pothole damage.”

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Alia Conley covers breaking news, crime, crime trends, the Omaha Police Department and initial court hearings. Follow her on Twitter @aliavalentine. Phone: 402-444-1068.

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