Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s newest annexation package would result in a tax increase for some property owners. Most owners, though, would see a tax reduction.
One property owner slated for an increase, Don Cheloha, took his case to the Omaha Planning Board on Wednesday, asking that his west Omaha acreage be left out of this year’s proposal.
If brought into city limits, he said, his property taxes would rise $1,300. He owns 10 acres that include his home and horse farm.
Cheloha said his taxes would go up another $4,900 because his land would no longer qualify for a greenbelt tax break.
“The big issue is the taxes,” Cheloha said. “I’m on a fixed income. That’s 10 percent of my total income in additional taxes. Because of that, we ask for some compassion.”
Cheloha’s place is southeast of 192nd Street and West Center Road.
The Planning Board voted 5-1 to recommend that the council approve Stothert’s annexation plan as proposed.
Chairman Greg Rosenbaum voted against it, saying he objected to bringing Miracle Hill Golf Course into the city. He said the area could be better developed if it remains a sanitary and improvement district, or SID.
Stothert wants to annex the golf course, north of 120th Street and West Dodge Road, and 12 SIDs: Bay Ridge/West Bay Woods 2, Cherry Ridge, Cinnamon Creek, Lake Cunningham Ridge, Manchester Park, Pacific Pointe Estates, Pacific Woods, Quail Hollow, West Bay Woods, West Dodge Station, Westin Hills and West Village Pointe.
All 12 subdivisions proposed for annexation would see their property tax rates go down an average of about $500 a year for a home valued at $100,000. The golf course would see an increase of about $69 a year per $100,000 of valuation.
Troy Anderson, Stothert’s deputy chief of staff for economic development and development services, said Wednesday that the package includes some areas adjacent to SIDs that are in unincorporated Douglas County.
A number of the adjacent areas are schools and others are residences.
Roughly 13 properties, are residential and would see an increase in their property tax rate, he said.
Anderson said the Mayor’s Office wants to annex Cheloha’s property and several others in his area in an effort to extend the city’s corporate boundaries to the 192nd Street corridor.
Cheloha was the lone opponent at Wednesday’s public hearing, but he and several property owners sent a letter of opposition to the Mayor’s Office last week.
Anderson said annexation allows the city to increase its pool of resources and provide city services more efficiently and effectively.
The city has said the plan will add $1 billion in property valuation to the City of Omaha and will create net positive revenue for the city over a 10-year period.
“We understand the sensitivity of this issue and we understand that there are going to be a handful of folks whose taxes are going to go up” but including them in the annexation package is in the best interest of the city, Anderson said.
The package, which would add an estimated 8,771 people to the city , will go to the City Council for consideration. It’s scheduled to be heard for the first time on July 24.