Speakers at the public hearing on the proposed 2022 Executive Budget for the City of Jamestown called for more support for the Police Department.
Jamestown resident Doug Champ said he has a problem with the Jamestown Police Department only receiving $177,206 dollars for one police car and new radios under American Rescue Plan lost recovery funds, “If I haven’t seen a budget that wants to defund the Police Department, this is the budget that does that. And my question is why? Why when the ARP fund is supposed to be for public safety, public health, and economic recovery and we have these auxiliary projects as I mentioned before like a dog park and frisbee golf and whatever else you want to call this quote ‘possible projects.”
Kendall Club PBA President Sam Piazza spoke, mentioning how Police Chief Tim Jackson was asked to submit a wish list for capital projects that included five cars, virtual reality training, updating the shooting range, trauma kits, and how almost none of it was funded, “My question is, without these funds from the American Rescue Plan were we not going to budget anything for the Police Department? And you know, Doug kind of.. you know nobody came out and said we’re going to defund the Police Department but where is the funding for the Police Department? The guys and girls that come to work every day downstairs need the equipment to make sure they do their job safely.”
Jamestown resident and former City Council member Tamara Dickey said she is thankful for the Jamestown Police Department following an incident that had happened on 10th Street this summer, “We’ve got to give the Police officers the resources, both human and capital and system resources, that they need to make sure that they have the intelligence and they have the equipment and the weapons that they need.”
Doug Champ also made a recommendation that Council consider changing the City Charter so that the public hearing on the budget always occurs on the Monday before Thanksgiving so that it’s on the same day that council typically meets and is easier for the public to attend.
Finance Chair and Council Member at Large Kim Ecklund said council members are working with the city’s Finance department on separating out the general fund and American Rescue Plan monies. She said the plan is for Council to just vote on the general fund budget on Monday, November 29th.
Council President Tony Dolce said Council will be looking at public safety concerns more under the American Rescue Plan funding, “You know there have also been people that have asked us about where those funds are going to go and when we’re going to put that out there. We will be shortly after the budget is done putting out a vote on the actual categories, the amount, and then as different projects come up or equipment purchases whatever then we would be voting on them piece by piece, a la carte.”
Dolce said at this point City Council will have to bring amendments to the floor to be voted on next Monday.