The Omaha City Council approved a controversial plan to divert $5 million in property taxes to fund street repairs and a new trail bridge in the area near the new TD Ameritrade headquarters.
Tuesday’s vote matched the one in May that declared part of Old Mill and the adjacent neighborhood as blighted, which paved the way for the tax incentives. Council members Jean Stothert and Franklin Thompson voted against both plans, which passed 5-2.
At a public hearing, five people spoke out against the plan, including several neighbors of the development.
Linda Ryan said the measure goes against the purpose of tax increment financing, or TIF, which is used to attract new development. She pointed out that the TD Ameritrade headquarters is nearly complete.
Several who testified against the project said they believe the project circumvents the state’s TIF law.
But Rick Anderson, a lawyer who spoke on behalf of TD Ameritrade, said the proposal was in line with state statutes.
“The project would not have been undertaken without the assurance of the city that the street improvements would be made,” he said.
Thompson said the opponents were convincing, and he listed examples from their testimony as part of his reason for voting against the plan.
Claude Couvillion, who also spoke out against the TIF proposal, said the matter already seemed to be decided.
“It’s just crazy, the uselessness of this,” he said.
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