August 22, 2014

Omaha City Council public hearings on two controversial proposals

For more than two hours Tuesday the Omaha City Council heard from dozens of residents at a public hearing on the proposal of an occupation tax on tobacco products to that will fund the construction of a new cancer center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Just before the public hearing, Omaha City Council President Tim Mulligan announced they are changing the proposal and reducing the amount of the tax. He says based on information received by the city finance director the tax is now proposed at 4.5% instead of 7%.

Prior to that public hearing another was held that lasted nearly as long. The council heard plenty of opposition to a proposed ordinance that would give the city more control over bars and restaurants that hold a liquor license that have a history of problems. The ordinance requires all bar and restaurant owners to pay a $75 fee to help pay for extra enforcement at those with a history of violence and disturbances.

This ordinance also allows the city to pull a bar or restaurants occupancy permit but since their liquor license is state issued the council would have no control of that. A vote is expected next week.