Groups Get Ready to Lobby City Council on Budget
Photo: Video by kmtv.com
Omaha, NE--The next chapter in the city budget battle begins tomorrow with a group of taxpayers rallying before city council. Tonight they're criticizing the fire union and union leaders are fighting back.
Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom plan to hold a rally and then lobby the council to pass the budget as is.
"We think Mayor Stothert's budget is a good one. She's filled in a 20 million gap from her predecessor," Doug Kagan with NE Taxpayers for Freedom said.
The biggest fight is coming from the fire department and its supporters. They say the $90.6 million budget will not allow them to meet federal safety standards. Last week, Fire Chief Mike McDonnell testified the money isn't enough. The local fire union has filed a lawsuit against the city, saying Stotherts' budget jeopardizes public safety and violates union contracts.
Kagan's group wants Mayor Stothert to keep her campaign promise, of not being bought by unions.
"What we're fearful of is that the unions will lobby the city council to increase their budget. And that will add to the deficit. And therefore next year when the mayor wants to cut our taxes, she won't be able to," Kagan said.
When asked for a response, Local 385 fire union president Steve LeClair issued a response saying, "All we are seeking in the budget process is enough money to fund the public safety efforts that mayor Stothert deemed necessary when she negotiated the current agreement. Nothing more. Nothing less."
Tuesday night, anyone in Omaha can sign up to talk for up to three minutes in the city council public hearing. It's at city hall at seven p.m.