The city of Omaha is donating $ 93 million to the NExT partnership of the UNMC project
(Omaha, NE) – The City of Omaha is pledging millions of dollars to the University of Nebraska Medical Center to help expand the school.
On Tuesday, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced that the city had signed a $ 93 million memorandum of understanding to support the expansion of the NExT project at UNMC over the next decade. The NExT project is a planned federal medical research facility and disaster control center to be built on the UNMC / Nebraska Medicine campus.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Dr. Jeffrey Gold and Stothert announced the partnership which is expected to create more than 8,700 permanent jobs and 41,000 jobs in construction. “By building great partnerships, we can get things done in Omaha,” said Stothert.
Stothert said the expansion will raise $ 1.9 billion annually, both during construction and after completion. 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 taxes on tobacco and steam products, will fund the city’s commitment over the next decade. The increased smoking tax, which runs to around $ 4.2-4.5 million per year, will begin in 2023. Stothert said the city council passed the tobacco tax ordinance in 2012 to fund the Fred and Pamela Buffet Cancer Center. 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 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 to provide funding conditional on additional financial support for the project,” said Stothert.
“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.
Alderman Chris Jerram, who represents the city’s 3rd district, said the Buffett Cancer Center and 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.”
The mayor’s office states that the MoU is a non-binding agreement and that next month locations will be designated for the new “locations for responding to all federal threats,” which will serve as preparation centers for future pandemics, natural disasters and other threats for public health.
(Photo by WOWT 6 News)