The “turn-back” grants are back for another year to benefit South Omaha projects. A public hearing to gather community input is planned for Friday, Sept. 28, in the conference room at the old South Omaha City Hall, 5002 S. 24 Street. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m.

According to the revised Nebraska Convention Center Facility Financing Assistance Act, 10 percent of the funds received by the City of Omaha in “turn-back tax” from the State each year will be distributed to areas with a “high concentration of poverty.” Those funds are to be used to showcase important historical aspects of those areas, or to assist with the reduction of street or gang violence in the target area.

Areas in North and South Omaha have been determined by the Nebraska Legislature to meet the “high poverty” definition, and under statute, a committee has been established for each of those areas to oversee the distribution of the money. By statute, that committee includes the city council member and the county commissioner who represent the area, plus an area resident appointed by the other two members.

Councilman Garry Gernandt and Commissioner Mike Boyle, who represent South Omaha, will again work with Anita Rojas for this fifth year of the program. Under State law, they are to decide what projects will benefit from a portion of the funds that have been “turned back” to Omaha from state sales tax generated at the CenturyLink Center and Omaha Hilton.

The application period is underway with forms available online at the city and county websites, or in the City Clerk’s Office, 1819 Farnam Street, Suite LC-1. Applications must be submitted to Councilman Garry Gernandt no later than 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. There will be no exceptions for applications received after that time. The funding is open to 501 (C) 3 organizations or organizations that will use a 501 (C) 3 as their fiscal agent.

The qualifying area in South Omaha basically is the southeast corner of Omaha. It is bounded on the south by Harrison Street, by 42nd Street on the west, Interstate 80 on the north from 42nd to 24th Streets and “L” Street on the north from 24th Street to the Missouri River on the east. This year projects in an area with close geographic proximity to the target area that would have a significant or direct impact on the target area are eligible.

Grant recipients will be notified by mail in December.