STATEMENT (02-12-21)

Statement regarding the Columbus City Council’s announcement of major amendments to the 2021 Columbus City Budget

Social Justice Empowerment Council, Community of Caring Development Foundation, New Salem Baptist Church

Columbus City Council announced major amendments to the 2021 Columbus City Budget. These changes represent all that is good about democracy and civic participation. The people of Columbus, in response to a year of trials and tribulations, marched, made phone calls, gave testimony, and most importantly, prayed for change. Our Council listened, and heeded our call for the following changes to help youth and families in Columbus and the Linden area:

The most important element is creating four (4) new funds of $10 million each to (1) support families [and non-profits that support families], (2) foster economic recovery and support small businesses, (3) ensure a strong COVID-19 response, and (4) reimagine public safety. These funds are priorities for the Council and will be utilized over the coming year for their distinct purposes. We also expect the city to allocate additional dollars into the community as new federal stimulus dollars become available.

Additionally, Council plans to hold the June police class until the currently active audit of police recruiting and selections is returned to the city with recommendations for improvement. The $2.5 million in savings from delaying the class will be invested into community anti-violence work as well as employment and programming for youth. As of now, this includes reinvesting in the neighborhood anti-violence grants recently discussed.

The safety of Linden residents is paramount to us and we applaud Council for making the tough decision to delay incoming police classes until recommendations for improvement are presented come. It is not fair to new officers, or the communities they will serve, to come into a broken system in need of reform.

The Columbus City Council voted 5 to 7, including Council President Shannon Hardin, to hold on the June police class. Because two councilmembers voted against the delay, the amendment was tabled; another vote is scheduled for Feb. 22. We want to voice our support for the delay and to utilize the funds to stop the violence and bring the hope of growth, prosperity, and safer streets to our communities.



Karla Coleman, Director, Communications

Community of Caring Development Foundation

(614) 484-0911