Austonia AM
×
becomeMemberIcon

become a member

Charlie L. Harper III/Austonia.com

Austin City Hall

This story will be updated throughout the day.

The Austin City Council unanimously approved a $4.1B budget on Thursday that includes up to $150 million in cuts to police budgets over the coming year, although only $20 million will be cut immediately, city officials said.


The full budget will be posted at this link within a few weeks, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said on social media.

Adler posted a thread listing various issues and agencies addressed in this year's budget.




The $150 million out of the police department accounts for about a third of the police budget in typical years and includes shifting some departments responsibilities—and their attendant costs—to other departments of the city.

It's the first time in at least six years that the council has not increased the police budget, which has grown by 50% since 2013, KUT reports. About $3.5 million will go emergency medical services for COVID-19 response and another $6.5 million to housing assistance for people living on the street, the report says.

The council set a March deadline for City Manager Spencer Cronk to return with more detailed proposals to implement the new budget.

"We did it!!" Austin City Council Greg Casar, a staunch supporter of cutting police funding after protests earlier this summer, tweeted in the moments after the vote.

Law enforcement advocates responded with cautious optimism that while they would have preferred no cuts to police staffing—which make up the majority of the cuts effective immediately—they agree with the shifting of some duties out of the agency and see room for engagement on cuts over the longer term.

"The Greater Austin Crime Commission supports the additional funding and public safety investments in the fiscal year 2021 city budget, including community health paramedics, family violence, mental health response and violence prevention," the commission said in a statement. "The Crime Commission is reassured that the community will have input in the process to evaluate police operations and reforms in the months ahead. The budget rider amendment that makes clear police cadet classes may continue next year is encouraging, and we look forward to the timely completion of the work to improve training."

"We remain concerned about the reductions in police positions when crime is increasing and response times are slower."

Popular

(Museum of Ice Cream/Instagram)

Summertime sure does fly by, doesn't it? It's time to jam-pack as many summer activities as you can while there is still about a month left before school starts up again and the grind gets going. Luckily, Austin is full of places to visit that will fill your season full of memories.

Keep Reading Show less

(Tito's Handmade Vodka)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/12 oz sweet pepper-infused Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 3 oz soda water
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
Directions: Add all ingredients, except soda water, to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass over fresh ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order on Thursday that reaffirms his commitment not to implement new statewide mandates amid rising COVID case counts. (Pexels)

The Biden administration is asking cities and states to use pandemic relief funds to pay residents $100 to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reaffirmed prohibitions on pandemic protocols in a new executive order issued on Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less