OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Omaha's mayor wants voters to decide whether they're willing to raise their property taxes to fund a long-term plan for improving city streets - often the objects of residents' wrath and complaints.
Mayor Jean Stothert announced Thursday that she will ask the City Council to put a $200 million bond issue on the May 12 ballot. It would cost owners $35 more a year in property taxes for every $100,000 in valuation.
"We can stop the deterioration of our infrastructure," Stothert said. "But it will take all of us to agree that it's worth the expense."
The city spends $41 million a year on street repairs, the mayor said, but needs to be spending at least $75 million a year. The $200 million in bond funding would allow the city to put $40 million more into street repairs each year for five years.
But that would cover only part of what's needed, and Omaha would need a series of voter-approved bond issues to keep the initiative going, Stothert said.
Councilman Pete Festersen said he thinks the street repairs need to be part of a comprehensive plan that improves public transit and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.