Tag Archives: city of omaha

The Transparency Project: Part 5 – Who Selects the CIP Projects?

10 May

This is the fifth and final post from the Transparency series, following the steps of the Mode Shift CIP game board. We conclude our study of the City of Omaha’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), with a look at these questions:

  • Who selects the CIP projects?
  • How are citizens engaged in the process?

City Charter and CIP Process

The CIP text quotes the City Charter and explains the process used to formulate the CIP:

 

Here is a summary of the differences between the process specified in the CIP and City Charter, and the actual process as we discovered in our analysis and after talking with many people working in City Hall:

City Charter and CIP Actual Process
The Planning Director ranks projects for alignment with the City’s Master Plan. The Planning Department has no records of any ranking.
Unranked projects will not be funded…unless the Planning Department fails to do the ranking. The Planning Department has no records of any ranking, so we assume the loophole is used every year.
There are several other mentions of the project ranking process and how it assures an unbiased, systematic selection process that aligns with the City Master Plans. The Planning Department has no records of any ranking.
“The Transportation Master Plan sets forth the vision and goals for the transportation network in Omaha” The Transportation Master Plan has been largely ignored and neglected.
The CIP formulation process has no provisions for public input. Unfortunately, this is true. Comments to City Council in January and February may make their way to the selection committee, but there is no formal process.

In short, the City Charter is not followed and the process is closed to the public. The City says one thing and does another in a process that is closed to the public.

The Transportation Master Plan

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Coffee Chat with No More Empty Pots

16 May

As mentioned in our last Coffee Chat blog post, Mode Shift Omaha collaborates with local groups that serve diverse groups and interests to promote our shared vision of creating a more equitable Omaha with transportation options for everyone. In order to break the cycle of poverty and create healthier choices and opportunities for everyone, we must advocate together for access to multiple, safe transportation options across the entire city.      FullSizeRender_1

Our April Coffee Chat guest was Nancy Williams, Founder & CEO at No More Empty Pots. The nonprofit No More Empty Pots (NMEP) serves “opportunity youth” (a more positive name for “at-risk youth”) and low-income families mostly in North Omaha. They developed two main initiatives to combat community concerns on food insecurity, lack of jobs, and community investment: urban agriculture programs and a shared-use commercial kitchen for training. Their main projects/programs include: Continue reading

Citizens’ Academy Spring 2016 — Local Government & Planning

5 May

The Spring 2016 Citizens’ Academy is coming to a close this week. Here are the key takeaways from the first two sessions, on Placemaking & Local Government and Local & Regional Planning:

Omaha’s government is led by an elected (partisan) official. Some cities are governed by city managers. Many consider election-based city leadership more legitimate than leadership hired by the City Council because the purpose of having public elections is to reflect what the majority wants in its city governance. The advantage of city managers over elected officials is that they are not politicians, but “professionals.” Yet, even though city managers are (technically) non-partisan, they are still human and can be influenced to choose sides. Continue reading