BALTIMORE — Baltimore residents voiced their concerns about the city’s budget process during the second and final Taxpayers Night Thursday while renewing their call to decrease police spending and reallocate the money to other areas.
“October of this past year, I had a gun put to my head and I was robbed of everything I had down to my shoes and socks,” said Shaq Carbon, who is with an organization called Communities United.
Testifying before Baltimore City Council members, Carbon shared a story about one of the worst nights of his life.
But, he said he wasn’t upset at his robbers. Instead, Carbon said he sympathized with them.
“But then I thought, well maybe these guys needed housing, but we live in a city for every dollar spent on police we only spend 15 cents on housing," Carbon said.
Carbon was one of many people who testified during the second and final Taxpayers Night.
“What good is it the public safety that BPD offers when there are no homes to go to,” one resident said.
Residents remain critical of the city’s proposed $4 billion budget for the next fiscal year, which includes spending $560 million on Baltimore Police.
It’s an increase of $5 million from last year and those who testified believe the money should go to other areas such as education, housing and more.
“It can be spent on building our neighborhood backup. I don’t understand why we are pouring money into control instead of into keeping our communities safe and healthy,” another said during her testimony.
Hannah Young believes the city needs to make the budget process more inclusive for residents.
She said Taxpayers Night happens to far into the process with their concerns having to little to impact on the budget.
“We all know nothing substantial will change with next year budget at this point why do we only have an opportunity to give input in the process,” Young said.
There was least one city councilmember who shared that same point of view.
Councilman Ryan Dorsey decided not to attend the event.
In a statement he said in part, “I cannot in good conscience participate again believing it misleads people into believing their testimony will make a difference.”