Middletown has passed a budget that moves $200,000 from police department private-duty overtime funds to the new Mayor’s Permanent Task Force on Anti-Racism.
This comes amid protests across the country to call for racial justice after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day as well as calls to “defund” police departments.
Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was handcuffed and on the ground when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Video that surfaced of what happened to Floyd has sparked outrage nationwide.
A news release from Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim said this budget increases the funds for anti-racism programming from $28,000 to $228,000.
He said the Common Council voted 11-1 to adopt a $211 million budget that makes minor adjustments to the proposal Florsheim introduced in April.
The budget also cuts the property tax rate, reducing the mill rate from 36.0 to 35.8.
The mayor’s office said the budget includes full funding of the Board of Education’s budget request for Middletown Public Schools; zero increase in water, sewer, and fire tax rate; and support for riverfront projects, tree-planting initiatives, emergency housing support, and small business assistance programs.
“This budget meaningfully moves the needle on a number of key issues facing our community, from the COVID-19 pandemic to combating racism and improving police-community relations to laying the groundwork for our riverfront redevelopment,” a statement from Florsheim said.