The Omaha City Council will vote on Tuesday, January 27 on changes to the Omaha Housing Code in response to the lawsuit filed by the Metro Omaha Property Owners Association against the city in 2013.
OTOC Housing Action Team co-chair Gloria L. Austerberry spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance at the City Council hearing on January 13 since it will bring better enforcement of City of Omaha Housing codes and better define the responsibility of property owners and housing inspectors. Council members will vote on two changes to the ordinance suggested by Kate Mahern of the Creighton Legal Clinic and Tim Butz of Family Housing Advisory Services.
The changes are:
(1) the City will take immediate action on complaints by tenants on issues that might affect the health and safety of the tenants (e.g. lack of heat, sewer problems, serious rodent infestations etc). If the issue appears to involve health and safety issues, the City will ask the tenant to make a request of the landlord to repair the problem before the City will inspect for violations. If the landlord fails to respond to the tenants request for repairs, the City will become involved and make an inspection.
(2) The ordinance creates a Board of Appeals where property owners can appeal findings of code violations or insufficient repairs. Only two members of the seven member board can be landlords and the one “at large” representative must be a tenant.
The Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Action Team requests that you contact your representative on the Omaha City Council before the Council meets on January 27th, and ask that he/she vote in favor of the code changes with the above additions. Go the City Council website below for the contact information for each of the members:
Then, please come to the next OTOC Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Action Team Meeting at 6 pm on January 29 at St. Paul UMC Library (52nd and Corby–in Benson). We will hope to celebrate the new Housing Code as another victory for our neighborhoods.
Environmental Sustainability Action Team members Alan Volvoka and Elaine Wells testified at the January 22nd OPPD Board meeting in favor of a proposed Demand Management program that would help spread the demand for power during the hottest summer days. Currently, the total demand for power on the hottest summer days is about 2700 MWH. The average daily demand is about 1300 MWH. OPPD is legally required to maintain enough generating capacity to meet their highest demand days. The plan proposed to the OPPD board will help spread demand on those hottest days so that OPPD can retire the 3 coal burning power plants in North Omaha by 2023. Copy the link below into your browser to go to the OPPD website where there is more information about the demand reduction plans:
Earlier in the year, OTOC worked with other groups to convince the OPPD board to adopt an aggressive plan to reduce demand, increase conservation, close down the North Omaha coal plants and increase sustainable energy. This recent board decision helps to implement this long term plan. Elaine Wells pointed out that for the demand management plan to work, 80,000 households will have to sign up for the AC management program which allows OPPD to better regulate AC use during the hottest days of summer. OTOC will assist in making this program known to the public.