Jackson's New Budget Offers Big Increases To Police And Other Services

Cleveland Mounted Police in Downtown Cleveland. [Matt Richmond / ideastream]

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s first budget proposal that includes revenue from the city’s new 2.5 percent income tax rate has big investments in public safety and other services. The police budget would rise to a level higher than before the 2008 recession.

Jackson is asking for almost $200 million for police, a 5 percent increase over 2016 and $25 million more than was spent in 2007. The number of uniformed police would increase by 11 percent, to 1600.

The increased spending on public safety, along with new hires in the code enforcement department and in the public health department, are possible because voters approved an income tax increase in November. Overall, Jackson is proposing an 8 percent, or $45 million, spending increase from the city’s general fund.

He also wants to create an office of quality control to monitor government services and expand youth violence prevention efforts.

There's also funding for five staff members at the Cleveland Community Police Commission. The commission was created in 2015 as part of the city’s consent decree for police reform with the US Department of Justice. A year and a half later, the 13-member group is still in the process of hiring an executive director.

Commission co-chair Mario Clopton – Zymler says they’ve been carefully considering candidates.

“It is frustrating to not have the staff in place yet, just speaking as someone who has to do a lot of the work of the commission without the staff. But as it relates to the work of the commission, I think our staff being hired will help the work of the consent decree," he said.

Jackson is asking for an increase in the commission’s budget from $36,000 last year to $780,000 in the new budget. 

The budget now goes to city council for consideration, a final version is due April 1.

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