Mayor Justin Elicker says he’s finalized the 2020-2021 budget after the Board of Alders tasked him with finding another $2 million in savings.
“It’s important for people to know these cuts mean something and we’re struggling with keeping our taxes in line while at the same time providing residents the services they need and deserve,” said Mayor Justin Elicker (D).
That’s now lead to a total of 101 empty positions to be cut or reduced.
Many of the total spots - 48 - are in the police department, representing an 11% reduction to the force.
“I think the concept of divesting in police, we’ve heard a lot of defunding the police, and diverting the resources to other things that are the roots of the problem like youth, like libraries, like the homeless services that we provide. That concept is a good one. Because ultimately police are a band-aid on a problem, right?” said Elicker.
During these tough budget times, the mayor says it was difficult to find extra money for community services but it was important not to cut those.
That left police, among others, taking a bigger hit for a total of $4 million.
Some activists are calling for more to be done including slashing police overtime and removing officers from schools.
And they don’t think getting rid of vacant positions is enough.
“It’s more like a symbolic gesture and we’re really good at symbolic gestures but to actually do something substantial I haven’t seen any of that,” said Barbara Fair of Stop Solitary CT.
The mayor says the police reductions will make it tougher for walking beats and to rebuild the ranks which recently had dropped.
Our attempts to reach police and the police union for comment were not successful.