On Tuesday, July 31st, twenty OTOC Leaders attended the City Council Budget Hearing. Six leaders testified before the Council, emphasizing 6 priorities surrounding the issue of housing and revitalization of Omaha neighborhoods. Below is a list of these priorities.
OTOC Slides and Testimony from Budget Hearing
1) Puts $1.1 million in the budget for demolition of dangerous structures, putting the six year total at $6.2 Million invested in demolition of
2) Finalize an Inter Local Agreement with the Omaha Land Bank by the end of August so that it can give the City $500,000 to provide for demolition of 30 additional homes in 2018-19.
3) Foreclose on all Demolition Liens as quickly as the law allows so that the abandoned properties end up in the hands of the Land Bank, who has a proven record of better maintaining properties.
4) Clarify when the City Garbage Collector can refuse to pick up trash for weeks as they did at 4201 Maple.
5) Ensure that all 9 of the Housing Code Inspectors in the proposed budget get hired. The Planning Department has a history of putting more code inspector positions in the budget than it actually hires.
6) End the Demolitions Pipeline and work with OTOC to learn about adopting a Proactive Rental Property Registration and Inspection Ordinance which would require that all rental property be registered and periodically inspected to assure that it meets basic health and safe codes. Council Bluffs, LaVista and Carter Lake have already taken this step.
From WOWT Broadcast
“Churches who work with Omaha Together One Community stood up to present to the council the need for getting rid of the demolition pipeline. What OTOC wants is for the city to be able to absorb demolished property through an interlocal agreement with the Omaha Municipal Land Bank to reuse the land.
OTOC also wants the city to better use what money they have in the budget to hire more code inspectors.
“What we’re interested in is that they actually hire fully the inspectors that exist in the budget. The money is there if they would simply hire people rather than leaving the money on the table and saying, ‘We have a surplus in our department,’” Dennis Walsh said, who spoke on behalf of OTOC.”
Since the hearing on Tuesday, the testimonies of OTOC Leaders have been cited in articles from the Omaha World Herald, KETV and WOWT.
From here, OTOC Leaders hope that these testimonies will result in a more proactive approach from the City Council in addressing the issue of deteriorating and aging property in Omaha.
On Tuesday, leaders took the first positive step in that direction.