Columbus Council Cuts City Budget, Tables Police Demilitarization Measure
Columbus City Council last night indefinitely tabled a proposed ordinance to demilitarize police by limiting officers use of chemical agents, helicopters, military-style rifles and rubber and wooden bullets.
The measure was tabled without public debate, with Council members Shannon Hardin, Emmanuel Remy, Priscilla Tyson and Mitch Brown voting to table it. Sponsoring Council member Elizabeth Brown:
The measure is one of several made following the police response to local police brutality protests. Nearly 900 people who commented in public hearings on the measure sought demilitarization. Council also cut the 2020 municipal budget by 41.5 million dollars, citing declining income tax revenues related to COVID-19 pandemic job losses. City Auditor Megan Kilgore in June estimated a 4.65 percent deline in income tax revenue from last year. And she says the situation could worsen due to the pandemic:
The reductions include a 9.5 million cut to the health special revenue fund, 1.1 million to the recreation and parks operation and extension fund, and nearly 5 million to the fleet management fund. The city earlier this year found savings through a hiring freeze and travel ban. Columbus is also using some of its 157 million dollars in CARES Act funds.