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Check out some recent Registered Statements from forum participants

Emma Alexandrov outside Decatur June 15, 2020, 11:10 AM

Dear Commissioners,

After having looked over the proposed 2020-2021 budget plan, as well as City Manager Andrea Arnold's accompanying message, I appreciate your transparency, your careful and compassionate consideration of the past and future impacts of COVID-19 on city employees and residents, and your demonstrated intention to keep nurturing our city's communities. I found the improvements you have already made to outdoor public spaces, as well as those you have proposed, meaningful and well-chosen.

Continuing along this vein, and in light of the protests we've seen recently, I would like to suggest that you rework this budget proposal––specifically regarding the funding of the Decatur police. I have noted and appreciated your acknowledgement of the perpetuation of institutional racism by the city, as well as your commitment to anti-racism through training programs and increases in racial and gender diversity among staff. However, I believe that the problem is so profound that these measures are not sufficient on their own. What I would like to see is a re-framing of the police budget as funds for the active cultivation of peace, rather than prevention of and protection against crime. I am, of course, not of the mindset that we could simply "defund the police" within a month. Rather, I would like to see immediate allocation of some of the police's funding to support a thorough, up-to-date analysis of crime in Decatur, to the end of identifying areas in which we could make changes aimed at eliminating factors that motivate criminal activity. Furthermore, I would like to see a portion of this funding directed towards creating new and fortifying existing mental health resources for Decatur residents. I imagine these resources working to the end of ensuring that each resident has straightforward access to support and treatment if needed, as well as combatting stigma surrounding the use of such services. Finally, I would like to see the immediate introduction of unarmed mediators into what is currently our police force, and then see their numbers and funding increase over time, while those of armed police decrease in turn. I imagine that these mediators could address instances of disruptive but non-violent public disturbance, calls concerning those who appear to be homeless or suffering from mental illness, as well as interpersonal disputes.

Thank you for all of the work you do!

Emma Alexandrov

Michael McLellan inside Decatur June 14, 2020, 9:57 PM

I think Decatur should reconsider the high percentage of the budget allocated toward policing, and instead invest more into education, housing, and employment programs that genuinely increase the health and safety of our communities without harming residents.

Marbre Stahly-Butts, Executive Director of Law for Black Lives states that "budgets are value statements". When cities allocate more money to policing than to initiatives that improve communities, "What they’re saying is that the surveillance, that the caging of Black or Brown people is more important than the care of those same people."

What are the values of Decatur? Do we want police to "keep the streets clean", criminalizing behavior that results from lack of access to proper resources? Instead, we can create those resources to help struggling residents and communities meet their needs and achieve real safety and stability.

Allison Taylor inside Decatur June 11, 2020, 3:28 PM

I agree with the majority of investments, but I think we need prioritize the green space instead of continuing to use the money for bike lanes- at least until we are through this crisis. Our bike lanes are used far less than I would have expected. I rarely see them used by more than a few people at a time, but I know green-space would be used by a great number of people in the community- particularly wile so many people are following the CDC recommendations for social distancing.

Name not available outside Decatur June 9, 2020, 9:42 PM

Store 1

Store 2

Store 3

Would you like to see these stores in downtown Decatur?

Kimberly Slusser outside Decatur June 8, 2020, 4:31 PM

I ask that you reallocate funds from the police department to other social services such as (affordable housing, food security, more robust environmental sustainability initiatives, care for the homeless population, and trained social service workers who can respond to crises without weapons). I believe that these services will better meet the goals set by the city to create a diverse, sustainable, and safe environment for residents.

Kim Davenport inside Decatur June 5, 2020, 10:49 PM

I do not support any additional funds added to the police budget.

I do not support establishing a new Clergy Police Academy or Youth Mentorship Program while continuing the Junior Police Academy, Citizen’s Police Academy, CAPS program, RAD selfdefense courses, and Revved Up Kids.

I do not support continuing to provide community education programs with the Police Department, including: business community outreach, senior outreach, crime prevention, cultural awareness, Alzheimer’s training, teen driving alcohol education, human trafficking, mental
health and substance abuse.

The reason I do not support adding these funds to the budget is that the programs you mention above should NOT be under the authority of the COD police department. Establish similar programs, but they should be under the authority of community organizations who are made up of people within the communities it intends to serve.

I further urge you to look hard at the professional development services that you've budgeted for, as well as the additional equipment (rifles, automated license plate readers, new vhicles in the capital items) and consider to what extent those expenses can be eliminated and diverted to other community organizations who are deserving of funds.

John Morris inside Decatur June 4, 2020, 7:55 PM

Amanda Zustra outside Decatur June 3, 2020, 8:49 PM

Thaddeus Gilliam inside Decatur June 3, 2020, 5:13 PM

The city tax digest has increased from $1.41B to $2.36B since 2014. This represents a 67% increase in the tax digest just over the last 7 years. See below for data. I've lived in the city since 2008 and have seen my property taxes soar to unprecedented levels. The actual levy of taxes has increased from $14.8M to $24.7M over the same time. This is an annualized 8.8% increase in taxes! I believe the city needs to focus more on reducing spending to make the city more "affordable" and enjoyable to live in. Without lowering taxes to reasonable levels, the city will continue to exacerbate the housing crisis.

DAVID CRENSHAW inside Decatur June 3, 2020, 12:13 PM

The Dekalb tax assessments have just come out, and mine and likely most of you, had an increase of 9.4% after a 4% increase of last year. At this time there is no practical way to protest the assessed value. My assessment is now higher than my actual market value. This much increase in assessed value will be more than the 2% millage rate increase. And for those of us on senior exemptions we are also facing losing the school exemption.
So I say no to the millage increase.