First Steps for Safer Communities - 2021 Budget Update
Mayor Frey has released his proposed budget for the 2021 season, and you can find it here: http://www2.minneapolismn.gov/budget/2021-budget. Through our work at the South Minneapolis Public Safety Coalition, we were looking for a budget that reflected our "First Steps for Safer Communities" proposal.
The South Minneapolis Public Safety Coalition is pleased to see a $2.5 million allocation to the Office of Violence Prevention’s MinneapolUS Street Outreach Initiative. While we are optimistic that this is a step in the right direction for the City of Minneapolis, we know that $2.5 million is not enough to make a significant impact, especially in communities like South Minneapolis. Our request is for $6.5 million dedicated to street outreach for high need areas across the City of Minneapolis, which would require an additional $4 million investment into this program or another similar outreach initiative.
COVID-19 has required budget cuts across many departments, and Public Works was included in those cuts. While we recognize that not all Public Works Services can continue during this time of economic uncertainty, we know that streets in South Minneapolis need strategic efforts to combat unsafe driving and other livability concerns. By committing to focus available resources strategically around corridors that are more greatly affected by safety and livability issues, neighborhoods in South Minneapolis can be more safe. We need $2.5 million identified to deploy public works resources to neighborhoods most impacted.
Also new to this year’s budget is a $50,000 allocation to the City Attorney’s office for a Pilot Programming Fund - Criminal Justice Reform Work. Specifically, this funding will be used to provide free access to diversionary programs that prevent people from incarceration. While SMPSC is in support of diversionary programs and hopes that these dollars will remove barriers to access, we are concerned about the load this adds to already overstretched probation officers. The funds for this program further exemplify the need for coordination to ensure that Minneapolis residents can successfully navigate diversion programs, so we still ask for $1.5 million to be identified to ensure County and City resources are working together effectively.
You can add your name to the petition here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/first-steps-for-safer-communities