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Not expecting a big crowd today at the #Omaha City Council.

Part for weather. Part for votes.
This is where I'll try to put live tweets about today's #Omaha City Council meeting. Should be saner than last week's marathon.

Here's today's agenda, if you'd like to follow along:

Perhaps the day's two biggest news items are the debate about how much more to pay the winner of #Omaha's next mayoral election. Here's our most recent story on that:

The other semi-newsy item on today's agenda, other than the usual fun of liquor licenses, back taxes and TIF, is the public hearing for adding "The RiverFront" name to the three downtown parks receiving $300 million in mainly private renovations.

There's also a final City Council vote expected on this ordinance to expressly prohibit parking in bike lanes and lanes of travel.

Nos. 17-18 are the big liquor license fights today, involving Moe's Marts at 82nd and Maple and on North 108th Court. Discussion at pre-council meeting concerned back taxes owed. That could lead to a recommendation to the state Liquor Control Commission of denial.
The council asked a clerk to call the owner and relay the importance of getting that situation handled. We'll see if it was.
If you have any questions or comments about any of the items on today's agenda, hit me up and I'll try to get them answered as best I can.
Meeting starts at 2 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers of the City-County Building at 1819 Farnam St. if you'd like to join us.
On the mayor pay increase proposal, there are at least three choices. There's the original proposal from council president Chris Jerram that would extend annual 3% raises that started this year and run through 2022 through 2026.
There's an amendment by council members Aimee Melton and Brinker Harding that would bump the mayor's pay in 2022 to $122k and increase it annually from 2023-2026 based on a measurement called the consumer price index.
And there's a new amendment by council member Ben Gray to boost the mayor's pay to $122k in 2022 and boost the pay by 3% a year from 2023-2026.
Filled in a little.
Dais is full.
Council president Jerram leads off with a Thanksgiving message urging people to think before they hit send with messages to others that might be more constructive if they spend a little more time as a draft.
Blue Sage Creek, 213th and F Streets, development. Larry Joven. 2nd phase. Lanoha Pacific. Approved, 7-0.
Item 7 Deer Crest, development. Mark Johnson. 114th and State. Approved 7-0.
Items 8-12, Marvely development, 132nd and Fort. Subdivision. Approved, 7-0.
Items 13-16 Town Center West, mixed-use dev, 204th and West Center. 1st Phase, 5 lots, 2 out lots. NW corner. Approved 7-0.
Items 17-18, class D liquor license Moe's Marts. These are the ones I mentioned earlier. Applicant didn't show.

Asking Law Department to present.
Ryan Wieseman?sp? of Law Department: Initially we were under the impression started in October. Reviewing some documentation shows previous owner sold Sept. 1.
Wieseman: It would appear from this documentation, applicant was storing alcohol, if not selling, before issuance of permit to sell in his own name. Finance Department is under impression applicant could've been operating since April or May. Management agreement is Aug. 1.
Wieseman: Apparent violation of liquor statute.
Council member Pete Festersen: One of these is in my district. I don't have any confidence on the basis of evidence presented today about uncollected taxes and timing of the license. No interest in understanding our liquor laws. Recommend denial. Motion to deny No. 17, passes 7-0
Council member Aimee Melton motion to deny No. 18, passes 7-0. Moe's can't sell liquor no Moe.
No. 19 is the Fan Tan Club. They owe some back taxes on restaurant tax. Jerram: We typically lay that over to allow the applicant to meet with the city finance department or city attorney to get that straightened out. Rules require the applicant to be here.
Jerram: Motion to delay a week and continue public hearing. Passes 7-0.
Now is cigar shop outdoor area, which needs permit. Conrad Wilson, the applicant is here. Approval would be contingent based on obtaining proper permits.
Festersen: This is a new business in Mormon Bridge Plaza? Across from Tussey's. Cigar bar. No food.
Open now as cigar shop, then will open patio and do drinks.
Cigar bar approved, 7-0, Item 20.
Nepali Restaurant application is next, No. 21. 5478 N. 90th St. Approved 7-0.
Items 22-23, Tanner's Bar and Grill, two locations. Existing businesses, reorg in the ownership structure. Approved 7-0.
Biggest thing in the consent agenda items might be the appointment of the 24th Street Business Improvement District members. A big deal and a long effort.
This is the North 24th Street BID.
Some coverage of the efforts.

The BID runs from Ames to Cuming along 24th Street.

Ben Gray: I want to thank all of you who came down today. This is a really good day for north Omaha and the BID. Thank all of you for the hard, hard work and the number of meetings. Thank our Planning Dept. and Law.
Gray: Our city folks, along with our community, have spent a great deal of effort to make this happen in our community. "We're going to continue to move forward."
Festersen: Congratulations to you all.
Consent agenda, items 28-57, approved 7-0, including BID.
Now comes the mayor pay debate.
Public hearing was continued. No one speaks in favor. One opponent coming down. Ford Momartz?sp?: I'm in favor of all of the heads of the city getting a raise. But I think psychologically, the human mind doesn't grasp percentages as well as flat amounts.
Momartz: I think percentages sound larger than actual amounts. I think they deserve that money.
Larry Storer, a frequent attendee of city meetings, says we should slow down on these pay raises, especially those tied to other cities. This is Omaha, he says, not Minneapolis or Dallas. Storer: I don't think people who might run for mayor will move to another city to run.
Council member Aimee Melton: We took into account cost of living when we looked at salaries elsewhere. Don't know if that was clear. I prefer to have a cost of living increase. I'd prefer to do it based on the CPI.
Melton: That's why I did the cost-of-living increase for both the mayor and City Council moving forward. A 1-2 percent swing in a given year would not dent the budget.
Melton: I think they're both going to be about the same, I would just rather it be a cost of living increase.
Council member Brinker Harding: The reason for the CPI, or the consumer price index, was because we don't have a guarantee when we negotiate with unions and other groups that there will be an increase. I think it's more in line with keeping up with but not ahead of inflation.
Harding: When I'm dealing with a landlord, I don't want to see 3-4 percent bumps, automatically. Tying this to an index makes more sense. I'll be support of both of these, with the index not the bumps.
Council member Rich Pahls: We found this magic number $122k. The superintendent of OPS makes 300k. Metro CC: 300k. OPPD and MUD make more. I hope we can squeeze another term out of the mayor. I've suggested she run for governor.
Pahls: We need to think about what type of mayor we might have. There's a certain degree of respectability with that salary. I think 122k is on the down side. Go back 18 years, 10 of those years, the increase was zero.
Pahls: This is not one of those jobs people have gotten rich over. I think it's time for us to stop and take a look and talk to the Chamber, and ask what does this type of city want to reflect and come up with some value.
Pahls: Superintendents in the surrounding areas wouldn't work for that.
Pahls: Something is wrong here. I probably will not vote.
Pahls: I'd like to see us freeze ours and give more to the mayor. Everybody at this table has a job or is retired. We can work at other jobs.
Pahls: I feel that price is too low.
Council member Ben Gray: I chose the 3% over the consumer price index because I have questions about whether we need to tie this 3% to what we give our employees. I don't think people recognize the amount of work that each member of this council does and the mayor.
Gray: This is not about us. We're talking about who gets elected next time. 3% is appropriate for council members.
Gray: We can always go back and adjust that if we need to. If we vote on the CPI, what if it comes in at 1.5 or 2 percent. I don't think that's fair to council members.
Festersen: I've never supported anything more than a 3 percent increase.
Festersen: That's still my position today. But I'm not supportive of them. They both bump up the mayor's salary 17 percent and then more. I'm not supportive of those. Same position on 59.
Melton and Harding motion and second on their amendment: Fails, 2-5.
Gray amendment gets a second from Jerram so it gets a vote: Fails 3-4.
Now the Jerram proposal, 3 percent a year: Passes 4-3. Mayor will get 3% a year.
Assuming she'd sign it. I'll reach out to her shortly.
Storer testifies against giving raises. Fellow regular attendee Luis Jimenez says he wants a larger raise for elected officials.
This is now onto council salaries. The only debate is 3% a year or CPI for annual raises from 2023-2026.
Harding: By charter, we can't set this for ourselves. We do it for the next body.
Pahls: "I came to the dance and I'm dancing by myself."
Pahls: Our average annual increase from 2001-2026 is 2.1 percent. Mayor from 2001-2026 is 1.2 percent.
Gray: I'm not supportive of either of the amendments. I'll support the 3 percent.
First amendment fails 2-5. Second amendment fails 3-4. Original 3 percent raise from 2023-2026 passes 4-3.
All that sound and fury, and the officially nonpartisan council's Democratic majority has narrowly approved 3% annual raises for the mayor and council from 2023-2026.
Next up is the legislative package from the city. This is the council approving where the city stands on various legislation.
Items 60-62 include city support for the next generation of tax incentives. Effort backed by the Chamber.
Storer steps up to oppose all three measures. Says he doesn't have any lobbyist.
Criticizes World-Herald for not telling him more about the legislative package. In fairness, we learned about it today, too. And we'll get to it when we can dig in.
Melton: One carryover bill is infrastructure turn back tax on water infrastructure. There's a lot of water infrastructure needs in addition to CSO project.
Melton: Second is local option sales tax refund. A lot of legislation exempts City of Omaha. Every month our city gets a bill. We're asking is to have that level off so we could plan for it better.
Another is support for turnback tax for sports complexes, like Tranquility Park. That would be important for development along 120th Street from Maple to Fort.
Melton: City wants ability to suspend liquor licenses for back taxes owed. Need next-gen tax incentives. Need some kind of tax incentives or we're going to keep losing corporations and jobs.
Item 60 is up, that's the liquor license change, approved 7-0. Item 61 is up, that's the tax incentives, approved 7-0. Item 62 is up, that's the lobbyist approval for Jack Cheloa. Approved 7-0.
Item 63 withdrawn at request of Public Works. Some sort of contract trouble. Will follow up.
Nobody speaking on items 64-65.
Item 66 is north Omaha trail segment project. Jim Thompson, Papio NRD chairman: In addition to water quantity and quality, we also do trails. This is another example to continue our trail system. This is significant because it opens up north Omaha.
Thompson: As good as this proposal is in front of you, we will need some more steps. Encourage your full support of this agreement.
Item 67 is TIF for redevelopment project near 61st and Maple. Rehab and expansion of existing building. Festersen: I support this project.
Festersen: $1.2 mil investment in Benson Business District. This one is a mixed-use dev and also includes some renovations and public infrastructure investment. Looking at parking options.
Festersen: Working with Ken Smith at Parking and Mobility to see what needs done for parking. Hope to have some good suggestions going forward.
They're talking about pedestrian access.
Item 68, TIF for Highlander Phase 3, 3031 Blondo. 200k. Nobody against.
Now Omaha Land Bank Item 69, Beltline Trail Project. Sounds like trail location and trail design may be subject to Land Bank approval. Troy Anderson of Mayor's Office: No intention of developing ourselves. Will be working with developer.
Thompson from the NRD: Another tremendous project, the Beltline Trail, will interconnect as an arc, from 40th and Hamilton up to 31st.
Item 70 is adding the overarching name "The RiverFront" to the three riverfront parks, Gene Leahy Mall, Heartland of America Park and Lewis and Clark Landing.
Here's the story:


No park names will change. It'll be Gene Leahy Mall at The RiverFront.
Roger Dixon: Right now everything is going as it's supposed to. Lewis and Clark Landing is online to still be late 2021. Overall project done late 3rd or 4Q 2023.
Dixon: It's an interesting project to watch ... but we're having fun doing it.
Pahls: Urban Beach is still going to be there? Dixon: Yes. Might want to be careful jumping in the river, but yes.
Items 71-72 are justice grant funds.
Much of the remainder are pretty bland. We're talking software, long-term insurance and the link.
And the like. Give me an edit button, Twitter.
Item 75 lets folks refinance bonds. Saving about 900k over 10 years. Use for further capital improvements.
Item 76 is the contract with fire department managers.
Four-year deal, 2019-2022. Primary objective of city was pushing to high-deductible health plan in 2020.
The last city group still on a different plan is the fire department rank and file. They operate their own health care trust.
City makes lump sum contributions during transition to health savings accounts. 3% increase in pay per year.
This is it for today. Drive safe out there and thanks for following along. I'll get something together quickly and post the link here.
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Sorry it took a little bit to get you the story from yesterday’s meeting. Some technical difficulties @OWHnews. Here’s the story about mayor and City Council pay raises.

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