DES MOINES, Iowa – Monday night, the Des Moines City Council approved the next fiscal year’s nearly $990 million budget.
It includes about 35% of the city’s $222 million operating budget going to the police department. That’s roughly $78 million.
Members of the public were concerned and questioned the city council on that decision.
“You spent the money on these consultants. It’s good money, good use of taxpayer money. But now let’s put things in place. We want a safer community,” said resident Sheila Knoploh-Odole.
Members of the council listened to the public’s concerns, with numerous residents addressing the issue for nearly 45 minutes.
“I think it’s interesting that you took the initiative to get two different organizations to help you in this problem that we have right, two consulting groups. That’s great. That’s not just your money that’s our money being spent to do that, and we want you to take in consideration all of the things that they suggested as best practice,” said Just Voices volunteer Lora Froracci.
In the end, the council did pass the budget as it was presented. But they did acknowledge that they aren’t done trying to bring the police force into the 21st century.
“I think we are making strides to look at things differently. I think we have reports that have come in based on what Josh has talked about so I think that we are ongoing. I have always been a proponent of expanding the mental health crisis team, I think we’ve seen that when we do implement something new it has been effective and I think we need to expand that, but within our budget so we can still do that. So, I think within the dollars we have that we need to look at it and continue to expand that and look at other programs that we can change,” said council member Connie Boesen.
The fiscal year runs from July to June.