The Omaha City Council consists of seven councilmembers representing different districts across the city. City councilmembers hold legislative power and serve as resident’s representatives in local government.Elected on a non-partisan basis to four-year terms, each councilmember is the point-of-contact for residents in their district to voice their concerns and dreams for the city. If you are unsure which city council district you live in or who your representative is, you can find that information at https://citycouncil.cityofomaha.org/council-members.
Candidates interested in running for City Council must be at least 25 years old, a registered voter, a resident of Omaha and live in the district where they are running for at least six months before being sworn into office. Additionally, each candidate must gather and submit 100 signatures from registered voters in their district to be included on the ballot for the primary election. This year the primary will be held on April 6th, 2021. The two candidates who receive the most votes during the primary election advance to the general election. This year the general election will be held on May 11, 2021. The winner of the general election officially begins their term on the fourth Monday following the general election. This year, that date falls on June 7, 2021.
The City Council has all exclusive legislative power in Omaha. Their roles and responsibilities are extensive and outlined in the Home Rule Charter for the City of Omaha. They can pass, amend, or repeal any ordinance. An ordinance is an act adopted by a legislative body (in this case, the city council) that has the force and effect of law, the violation of which is enforceable in municipal court. A few examples of things the city council can do by passing, repealing, or amending ordinances are:
- Adopt emergency ordinances.
- Create boards, commissions, or authorities to undertake new city programs and functions.
- Create, at the recommendation of the mayor, new departments or transfer functions between departments.
- Annex surrounding areas.
- Call for a special election.
- Increase or decrease compensation of elected officials.
- Provide for a Charter Study Convention to review and amend the City Charter.
In addition to the City Council’s ability to pass, amend, or repeal any ordinance they can also:
- Approve or amend the city budget.
- Approve mayoral appointment to boards, commissions, or authorities.
- Override the mayor’s veto power with a vote of five councilmembers.
This year six incumbents are running for office and over fifteen candidates are running to unseat them. Keep an eye out for our City Council Voter Guide coming out after the primary election in mid- April. The voter guide will present the different candidates’ views on neighborhood issues.