In his first public appearance since FBI agents searched his home, Councilmember Vinny Palermo opened Tuesday’s Omaha City Council meeting by wishing everyone a happy new year.
Palermo didn’t mention the ongoing federal investigation of Police Athletics for Community Engagement, a sports program for at-risk youth run by current and former police officers. He didn’t speak to the media after the meeting.
Tuesday’s meeting was uneventful otherwise. The City Council approved more than $300,000 in COVID relief funds for parks projects as well as a $1.8 million tax-increment financing agreement for a 73-unit apartment building at 30th and Leavenworth Streets.
The City Council also denied liquor license applications for four different Family Dollar Store locations. Councilmember Juanita Johnson said the location at 2930 Sprague Street would make alcohol more available to youth. She pointed out the store’s proximity to schools and youth services.
“Community members…are a little bit concerned about Family Dollar’s mission,” Johnson said. “I just think that this market and this area is already saturated with liquor stores.”
Councilmembers Pete Festersen and Danny Begley, who represent the other three locations on Tuesday’s agenda, echoed similar concerns. All four applications were denied 5-2, with Councilmembers Aimee Melton and Brinker Harding voting in support of Family Dollar.
Douglas County Corrections Director Mike Myers gave a monthly update to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. He said ongoing staffing issues are being addressed by an updated labor contract approved by the Board last month.
Eight officers left employment in December, but Myers said only one left after the contract with the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 8—the union representing corrections officers—was approved. The contract also led to a “tremendous spike” in new applicants, Myers said.
“Even before we’ve begun advertising, we probably had more applicants in the subsequent two weeks of that being approved than we had in the previous four or five months,” Myers said.