Additional funding for increased public safety initiatives requested for 2020 Georgetown budget

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The city of Georgetown’s fiscal year 2020 budget process is underway and city staff have identified several growth pressures to be taken into account. Many fell under the category of public safety.

Considering police calls have increased 15% since 2017, the police department is requesting two additional officers and two 911 call operators, Assistant City Manager Laurie Brewer said at the city’s June 11 council meeting.

Staff also requested bringing on K9 officers to address narcotics so the city, which currently relies upon surrounding agencies for that service, could provide its own; a community engagement officer; and a computer forensic crimes detective. The five current detectives handle about 1,588 cases annually, Brewer said, and the caseload does not allow for the complexity of dealing with cyber crimes.

All requests were brought to Council for informational and discussion purposes only–the official proposed budget will be presented on August 6.

Other public safety items requiring additional funding included replacing police car, body and interview cameras to improve function and long term reliability, replacing swift water and dive boats and life support monitors.

Brewer also brought up opening fire stations 6 and 7. Though the city would have additional operational expenses, staffing would be funded with a grant and the stations would be partially funded through a partnership with Emergency Services District 8.

A training officer was also requested for the fire department. The new position would ensure compliance with required training and focus on fire suppression and driver training, according to Brewer’s presentation. She added this is needed because 82 employees, or 60%, are entry level.

The presentation included data charting the city’s growth pressures – click to zoom:

A budget-process timeline was also provided:

July 16-17 – City-wide budget work session
August 6 – City manager’s proposed budget presented
September 3 – First public hearing on tax rate
September 10 – Second public hearing on tax rate, first reading of the budget and tax rate
September 24 – Second reading on the budget and tax rate

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Sally Grace Holtgrieve
Sally Grace Holtgrieve solidified her passion for news during her time as Editor-in-Chief of Christopher Newport University's student newspaper, The Captain's Log. She started her professional career at The Virginia Gazette and moved to Texas in 2015 to cover government and politics at The Temple Daily Telegram. She started working at Community Impact Newspaper in February 2018 as the Lake Travis-Westlake reporter and moved into the role of Georgetown editor in June 2019.
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