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The CSO Program is financed using a 30-year bond and funded through sewer use fees which will increase throughout the life of the Program. The unfunded federal mandate to reduce raw sewage overflows to our streams is scheduled for completion in 2037.
The 30-year revenue bonds will be issued in periodic increments as approved by the Mayor and City Council.
In June, 2018 the Mayor recommended, and the City Council adopted on a 7-0 vote, a new rate ordinance which will be in effect January of 2019 and continue through December 2023.
2020 saw over $1M in grant funding from Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that supports actual CSO Program construction costs. This award brought the CSO Program’s total grant award from the Nebraska DNR to just over $10M.
The sewer fee rate structure is developed with assistance from the City’s rate consultant and is necessary to finance Program projects and meet regulatory deadlines.
All residential, commercial and industrial rate payers in the Omaha metro and suburban communities who use the regional sewer system will help pay the estimated $2.2 billion (2018 Dollars) for the required improvements.
It was recognized early in the Program that rising rates would be a hardship for some residents. The City took a proactive role and along with the Community Basin Panel, formed a sub-committee to determine assistance options for fixed- and low-income residents.
A rate assistance program, is available for residential users who qualify for the existing state energy assistance program (LIHEAP) managed by the Metropolitan Utilities District. The District bills the sewer fees on behalf of the City.
When the Long Term Control Plan was approved, it marked the start of a ratepayer assistance plan to help low income and fixed income households with sewer rate increases necessary to fund the Program.
The CSO Program continues to utilize the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to provide sewer rate assistance. This financial assistance offsets heating, cooling, and sewer costs. Assistance is administered by Metropolitan Utility District and Omaha Public Power District. A total of over $3.2M was provided in 2020 assistance and over $14.3M has been provided since inception (through December 2020). This includes a 2020 CARES Act contribution.
Ratepayers are eligible if they receive Low Income Heat and Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) from their utility. From January through December 2020, over $3,249,000 has been provided in assistance; for a total of $14,346,000 from inception through December 2020.*
To apply for Nebraska LIHEAP, call (402) 595-1258.