Charlotte city leaders propose funding to reduce violent crimes

City leaders discussed the proposed 2020 fiscal year budget Monday night, including ways to stop the increase in deadly violence. Over the last five months there have been 49 homicides in Charlotte. 

City Manager Marcus Jones outlined the budget inside the Government, including $2 million for first responder training and raises for police and firefighters over the two and three years. The proposed budget is part of the $4.2 billion capital investment over the next five years.

“The budget is important but I’m more concerned about how do we keep our city safe,” said Mayor Vi Lyles. “We need our full complement of police staffing and we also have to have our neighborhood leaders say how do we work to make a difference here.”

Also mentioned was the Jump Start Microgrant that gives money to community groups as they work to reduce crime in their own neighborhood.

“Police are always asking we need the neighbors help,” said Robert Dawkins, the political director of Action NC. He watched closely at Monday night’s meeting and says CMPD cannot fight crime alone.

“The police don’t know who has beef in the neighborhood, especially since people’s main thing is don’t tell the police.”

He supports the grants increase from one hundred thousand dollars last year to five hundred thousand dollars in FY 2020. The city would administrate the money between community groups like Action NC and local churches.

“Everyone knows what’s going on right now, we have these murders, but I’m told the police themselves have said this is responsive,” said City Councilman Ed Driggs in reference to the police and firefighters raise.

Also highlighted in the FY 2020 proposed budget: there would be no tax increase. Council members say the revenue neutral tax rate is something they hope to keep.

There is also a proposed increase for city workers. Full time employees would earn $16/hour. That’s a minimum $1 an hour increase for general employees.

$13 million would be allotted for affordable housing. There would be a $1 solid waste increase and 3.4 percent increase of Charlotte water fees. Fare to ride CATS would not go up under the 2020 proposed budget.