Post Title: Harper-Madison preliminary budget recommendations

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Eric Byrd
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Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:38 am

Post Title: Harper-Madison preliminary budget recommendations

Post by Eric Byrd » Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:45 pm

On behalf of CM Harper-Madison:


I have heard loud and clear our community’s call for transformative change to the way we as a municipality approach public safety. Everything I have seen so far indicates to me this Council is prepared to do the necessary work. I am certain that each of you also recognize that we will neither realize nor sustain last change without putting in the time, resources, and careful deliberation required.

My staff and I continue to work around the clock with community members, staff, and the budget office to finalize amendments, but today, I would like to lay out a few of the items I intend to bring forward during next week’s budget deliberations.

In addition to the City Manager’s $11.3 M proposed change to the FY21 APD budget prompted by the resolution my office brought forward on June 11th, we need to fund:
The mental health intervention proposal from the Meadows Foundation
Priority items for EMS to increase its capacity
Long-overdue repairs to East Austin recreation facilities, including the Millennium ($800k-900k)
Juneteenth as a city holiday ($204,199)
The renaming of city assets linked to the confederacy and white supremacy ($300k)
Increased funding for Austin Public Health, including expanded EPI response teams ($3.9M)
Workforce development
Increased access to healthy foods in food deserts
Investment in recidivism initiatives

This year’s accelerated budget process has left us with little time to do the work that is necessary to create lasting change in how our city addresses public safety. I recommend that Council only authorizes half of the proposed APD budget in order to allow Deputy City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde and Police Monitor Farah Muscadin the time they need to properly evaluate and recommend timelines and logistics for an APD Transition Budget. This will ensure that Council is in a position to vote on those items prior to or as part of a mid-year budget authorization in six months.

The cadet class evaluation process and the creation of new curriculum is still ongoing and unlikely to be completed in time for the November class. I recommend delaying the November cadet class and reallocating the $6,043,245 in savings to fund the above proposed items.

Just like you and yours, my team and I are racing against the clock to polish our proposals. I will be unveiling more details in the days ahead.

Kind regards,
Chief of Staff, District 1