The legislative chambers inside the Omaha/Douglas County Civic Center.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to hear a presentation from Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) on renewable energy projects, as well as a weekly COVID-19 update from Douglas County Health Director Linday Huse.

OPPD senior account executive Jene Reese said 38.4% of OPPD’s retail sales came from renewable energy. Some of that energy is generated from decomposing trash at a landfill in northwest Douglas County.

The Pathway to Decarbonization Program is OPPD’s plan to meet their goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The plan includes studying ways for OPPD to reduce emissions without affected costs and reliability, and working with customers to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Commissioner Maureen Boyle said the county can play its part by optimizing buildings to use less energy, and promoting electric vehicles.

“I would like to see if we can do something down the road to really maximize these efficiencies,” Boyle said. “Not only because it’s the right thing to do for the climate but it actually can produce a cost saving for taxpayers.”

Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse said COVID-19 cases appear to be gradually falling, but the county still has high transmission rates. Staffing shortages are also contributing to high occupancy rates at Douglas County hospitals, she said.

“We continue to have a lot of struggles with finding nurses,” Huse said. “Those conversations in terms of capacity and staffing continue to happen.”

Douglas County saw a boost in vaccinations in the past week thanks to the approval of booster shots, Huse said. However, the county’s COVID-19 dashboard doesn’t have data on third doses because of how the data is collected at the state level, she said.

The Omaha City Council also met Tuesday to approve two tax increment financing (TIF) projects and hold public hearings for three more. The plans included affordable housing projects in North Omaha.

Councilmember Danny Begley also read a proclamation recognizing United Way of the Midlands for their work for the city, and Council President Pete Festersen recognized Thelma Sutcliffe, Omaha resident and the oldest living American, for her 115th birthday Thursday.

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