Tag Archives: public

2018 Street Bond Vote, Part 3: Project Selection

2 May

On May 15, 2018, Omaha voters will be asked to approve $151 million of Street And Highway Transportation Bonds (which we will refer to as “Street Bonds”). In return for this approval, the City commits to complete some transportation projects.

Mode Shift believes it is incumbent on the City to perform three steps:

  1. Inform the voters what projects it plans to fund with the Street Bonds
  2. Account for Street Bond spending and progress of the planned projects
  3. Disclose how it selects the projects that receive Street Bond funding

We covered the first topic in Part 1, where we reported that the City gets high marks, and the second topic in Part 2, where we reported that the City veers wildly from its plans without accountability.

In this final blog, we examine the third step and find that the City ignores the transparent and objective governance promised by the City charter and follows an opaque, visionless, subjective process that perpetuates the fiscally unsustainable, disjointed, band-aid projects that the City’s own Transportation Master plan warns against.

Continue reading

2018 Street Bond Vote, Part 2: Spending Accountability

26 Apr

On May 15, 2018, Omaha voters will be asked to approve $151 million of Street And Highway Transportation Bonds (“Street Bonds”). In return for this approval, the City commits to complete some transportation projects.

Mode Shift believes it is incumbent on the City to perform three steps:

  1. Inform the voters what projects it plans to fund with the Street Bonds
  2. Account for Street Bond spending and progress of the planned projects
  3. Disclose how it selects the projects that receive Street Bond funding

In Part 1 of this three part blog series, we showed that the City earns high marks for the first step.

In this blog, Part 2, we look at the second step, and find that the inadequate and obscure financial reporting allows the City to:

  • Go vastly over budget on the projects that are completed
  • Cancel or delay planned projects and divert the funds to unplanned projects or to the projects with budget overruns

So in fact, the City asks for voters to approve Street Bonds to build certain projects, and then does not hold itself accountable to build the projects as planned, use the funds as planned, or adequately report changes to the public. Continue reading

2018 Street Bond Vote, Part 1: What Projects Will Be Funded?

24 Apr

On May 15, 2018, Omaha voters will be asked to approve $151 million of Street And Highway Transportation Bonds (which we will refer to as “Street Bonds”). These bonds have been issued periodically following a vote as a “special issues” ticket. Here is the history:

Past Street Bond ISsues

The City will ask voters to approve the issue $151 million in street bonds on May 18, 2018

So taxpayers will be asked to approve an City expenditure of $151 million, plus interest, funded by property taxes (1), an amount more than triple the historical average.

The proposition is simple: Voters approve the bond issue, and in return the City uses the money to complete some transportation projects. For this to work, it is incumbent on the City to:

  1. Inform the voters what projects it plans to fund with the Street Bonds
  2. Report street bond expenditures and project progress
  3. Disclose how it selects the projects that receive Street Bonds

Without these three steps, voting for the Street Bond issue gives the City leave to use the funds without any accounting to the public. Mode Shift will publish a 3 part series of blogs to address each of these three steps.

In this blog, we’ll focus on the first and show that the City gets high marks thanks to the significant improvements to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Continue reading