Omaha expects $30M for police, fire costs as state updates rules on COVID relief money | Politics & Government

“I don’t think it is a given that we have to accept these expenses, and certainly it’s not a given that we have to reimburse them,” Duda said.

The board’s next meeting is next Tuesday.

Duda said the new state guidance has implications beyond Omaha. The county must also consider public safety expenses from cities like Ralston, Bennington, Valley and Waterloo, as well as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

The updated guidelines from the state define a public safety employee as an employee of a city, county, municipality or village “whose principal duties include services requiring specialized training in the area of police protection, firefighting services, or emergency medical services for any area within the jurisdiction of the identified eligible applicants.”

Examples of eligible full-time employees include sheriffs and deputy sheriffs; police chiefs, captains, lieutenants, sergeants and officers; fire chiefs, engineers, captains and firefighters; and emergency medical service personnel.

Most elected officials and employees of other taxpayer-funded services, such as libraries or a planning department, are not eligible for reimbursement.

Applications must be received by Sept. 15.

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