On July 9, 2021, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk reinforced the City’s commitment to continuing progress on Reimagining Public Safety (RPS) Initiatives during the presentation of his proposed Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) proposed budget to Mayor and City Council.
“We’ve already made tremendous strides in our efforts to reimagine public safety,” said Cronk. “Our core mission is to ensure that everyone – everyone – no matter who they are or where they live in our community – is valued, is respected, and can count on us to show up for them in a crisis, without fear that they will be treated differently,” he said.
Among the proposals in the FY22 budget is $29.1 million to renew the commitment to advancing progress within the transformative Reimagining Public Safety (RPS) framework. The proposal maintains the $27.2 million of funding approved in last year’s budget and provides an additional $1.9 million in one-time funding for public safety reform recommendations brought forward by the City-Community RPS Task Force.
The budget also includes:
- Providing $4.2 million and 44 victim services counselors for crisis response to victims and their families.
- Providing 14 new positions to create the Municipal Court’s new Marshal Program, replacing Austin Police Officers who previously provided these services.
- Repurposing $469,000 to expand Parks and Recreation’s forestry program operations.
- Adding $1.5 million to support partial-year funding of 28 positions and equipment for the new Loop 360 Fire/EMS station, scheduled to open in July 2022 at a total annual operating cost of $2.9 million.
The proposed budget supports a holistic approach to providing public safety services and community-centered crime prevention and intervention. “We remain committed to and are investing in: reimagining our police academy with curriculum that is centered around diversity, equity and inclusion principles, and building stronger community relationships; in responding to mental health emergencies in fundamentally new ways; in a family violence shelter; and in the initial phases of many other reform recommendations brought forward by the City-Community RPS Task Force, including the creation of the Office of Violence Prevention,” said Cronk.
The City Manager also acknowledged the impact of the implementation of Texas
HB1900, a new state law that levies significant fiscal penalties for municipalities that cut police funding year-over-year.
In the proposed budget the Emergency Communications Department and Forensic Science Departments, Decouple Fund, and the Reimagine Safety Fund are within the Austin Police Department budget to comply with the legislation.
“I want to assure you that our FY22 budget proposal fully complies with the requirements of the new law. I want to likewise assure you that will we not abandon our commitment to reimagining public safety, so that every person in this community feels safe in their home and neighborhood,” Cronk said.
Community input sessions and City Council work sessions on the budget will take place over the coming weeks.
To learn more about the City’s Budget development process, and get involved visit AustinTexas.Gov/Budget.