Omaha is donating $ 93 million to the UNMC project’s NExT partnership

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Mayor Jean Stothert announced Tuesday that the city has signed a $ 93 million memorandum of understanding to expand the multi-billion dollar NExT project on University of Nebraska Medical Center for the next decade.

“By building great partnerships, we can get things done in Omaha,” said Stothert.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold attended a press conference with the Mayor Tuesday morning to announce a partnership that is expected to create more than 8,700 permanent jobs and 41,000 construction jobs for UNMC and Nebraska Medicine. Should the Defense Ministry give the go-ahead, a disaster control center and research facility worth billions of dollars would be built around the former site of the Munroe Meyer Institute.

The mayor said the extension will raise $ 1.9 billion annually, both during construction and after it is completed. The MoU provides up to $ 45 million for the NExT project and $ 48 million for public improvements, roads and a parking garage on the Saddle Creek campus.

“Our support will not increase taxes,” said Stothert.

Taxes on the city’s occupation tax, as well as tobacco and steam products, which will total about $ 4.2-4.5 million per year for the next 10 years from 2023, will fund the city’s commitment, the mayor said .

The council passed the Tobacco Tax Ordinance in 2012 to fund the Fred and Pamela Buffet Cancer Center, she said. In 2019, they removed the sunset clause that would have ended the tax in 2022 and added vaping products to the tax.

The public parking garage will be funded through hire purchase bonds, Stothert said, and other infrastructure improvements – “including roads,” she said – will be funded through transportation bonds, which are included in the 2021-2026 capital improvement plan.

In addition, the state of Nebraska approved $ 300 million for the NExT project, and Governor Pete Ricketts “signed a bill making funding conditional on additional financial support for the project,” the mayor said.

“Our medical center is uniquely qualified to respond to the public health crisis and other types of national threats. We have seen this firsthand in treating Ebola patients and now in COVID-19 patients, ”said Stothert. “The NExT project puts Omaha in a competitive position to attract and retain the best and brightest talent.”

Dr. Gold described the letter of intent as an extremely important commitment to the NExT project, short for Nebraska Transformation, “which will provide a first-class home for an academic medical center. It will ensure our nation’s health security and provide an economic injection that has propelled Omaha’s development and prosperity for decades. “

Dr. Gold said UNMC will continue to work to fund the project from the private and public sectors “and the federal government in particular”.

“We are deeply grateful for this commitment and will not disappoint you,” he said.

Proven results could help with the next steps

Over the next month, the federal government will select a handful of locations across the country as new homes for federal disaster control centers. Gold said he believed Omaha was well placed to be selected as one of them.

“The NExT project will put Omaha in a competitive position to attract and retain the best and brightest health professionals,” he said.

Think of it this way: campus built a biocontainment center, selected a team to prepare for the worst – and how to treat it – and yet only practiced and trained the unit for nine years.

But in 2014 this patience paid off. Ebola struck, and patients from all over the world were being treated in Nebraska. This led to the government investment in the NExT project and now a nearly $ 100 million city commitment.

6 News asked the UNMC Chancellor if much larger civil protection centers would have been set up prior to the COVID-19 pandemic if the results might have been different.

“If there had been 10 of these centers that could have the skilled workforce, the supply chain, diagnostic testing, bed capacity, and the ability to admit the first 10,000 Americans with COVID, I would suggest that we would be in a completely different location at this point, ”said Gold.

Dr. Gold – The next 7-10 days are important to see if the number of cases creates major problems with this pandemic, i.e.: hospital stays …

– Brian Mastre WOWT (@brianmastrewowt) March 30, 2021

Alderman Chris Jerram, who represents the city’s 3rd district, said the Buffett Cancer Center and the UNMC’s global center had changed the city.

“It’s a very exciting time in our city,” he said. “… It’s about investment and ROI.”

According to a statement from the city, the letter of intent is a non-binding agreement.

In the next month, according to a message from the mayor’s office, locations will be designated for the new “all-hazard response locations of the federal government”, which are to serve as preparation centers for future pandemics, natural disasters and other threats to public health.

Watch the press conference on Tuesday

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