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People call for less police funding at taxpayer night

Posted at 10:12 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 07:24:07-04

BALTIMORE — It takes billions of dollars to run Baltimore City, but not everyone agrees on where most of the funds should go.

You have police, fire, public schools and housing to name a few.

On Wednesday night, the people of Baltimore got the chance to voice their concerns over the 2022 budget.

Taxpayers night started out with an explanation of the framework of the $3.6 billion budget.

City leaders started out by laying out the framework and breaking down where the money comes from and where it is going.

Mayor Brandon Scott said increased pensions and health care costs are driving the police departments share of the budget up.

“This does not reflect the direction that I want to and that we will move in the future,” Scott said. “Earlier this month I announced that we will be picking up on the work we started last year. Establishing an advisory group that will develop a five year plan on how we can responsibly reduce the police departments burden on the budget.”

Right off the bat the people wanted the over half a Billion dollars in funding for the Police department reduced.

Almost every speaker wanted at least $100 million removed from the police budget.

“We already have the highest per capita cost of police in the country,” said Amanda DeStefano. “We are continuing to increase funding for that department at the detriment of other departments.”

“The role of police in our society is far to expansive,” said Barbara Hauck. “There is no good reason to send a person with a gun and arrest powers to handle a victim of gender based violence or any other situation where a crime has already occurred.”

The city has felt the effects of the pandemic. It actually reduced the budget by around $243 million from last year.

People wanted more funding for education and housing.

“City schools have been underfunded for long enough,” said Jocelyn Providence. “We must set a precedent now that Baltimore City Public schools fully needs to be funded.”

“There have been many studies showing adequate education, affordable stable housing , a living wage and access to health services are better at reducing and preventing violence and harm than police or prisons,” said Alheri Onyinye.

Another common topic was creating an LGBTQ office and funding for organizations like Baltimore Safe Haven.

“For financial support for LQBTQ folks experiencing homelessness,” said Elizabeth Rossi. “Access to a building from the city. Grant funds for trans lead organizations to provide direct services and the creation of an LQBTQ office in City Hall.”

If you want to comment on the fiscal budget for 2022 click here.