City of Omaha launches website detailing its spending

City goes online with payment information for 2016, and 2017 to come.

People can now go online to see exactly where the City of Omaha is spending its money.

As Mayor Jean Stothert previously announced, the city has created a website to show nearly every payment it makes.

On the new website, douglasomahatechnologycommissionne.opengov.com, the city and Douglas County publish information including the amount, the recipient and a short description of the account.

Douglas County had previously made the information available online.

City information for 2016 is online. Officials are working on adding the first few months of 2017, according to the Mayor’s Office, and eventually information input will be automated.

The city has left off a few legal-related accounts including witness fees, said Finance Director Steve Curtiss. He said the amount of money paid for those reasons is small.

Still, the site lists more than $500 million from last year.

According to the site, the city spent the most — more than one-fifth of its money — on payments to First National Bank, mostly for debt service.

Other top vendors included Coventry Healthcare, Omaha Public Power District and several construction-related entities.

Curtiss cautioned that users should double-check information before making a sweeping conclusion.

“It’s like a lot of giant data sets,” he said. “You’ve got to be a little careful.”

For example, the city lists about $12 million in payments to Waste Management, the city’s waste hauler. But the annual spending on Waste Management is closer to $20 million, Curtiss said.

He didn’t immediately know the reason for the discrepancy but said it could be because some payments for 2016 weren’t processed until January.

“I would say this is a good place to start, but I’d want to make sure anyone does their due diligence before making some giant conclusions,” Curtiss said.


By Roseann Moring
Published: April 4, 2017
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