MISSOULA — The Missoula City Council finalized its decisions for the Fiscal Year 2021 budget on Monday evening following weeks of deliberation.
Just as we’ve seen the movement to “defund the police” gain traction across the country, we saw the same call to reallocate police funds in Missoula during the past month’s budget hearings. While the police department hasn’t been defunded entirely, cuts have been made to their budget request.
For example, the council voted to cut more than $122,000 of the proposed budget, including overtime training and a new motorcycle for the department. The department will still receive funding for two new officers, PPE helmets with face shields, and other items requested for the department.
This budget season garnered attention like never before, with community engagement at every budget hearing. Councilmember Gwen Jones of Ward 3 said there was no consensus for the budget in any regard, but she still felt confident voting to approve the final proposal.
"The programs that we're putting in place the monies that we're reallocating. This summer, are going to go a long ways towards telling us how to do better in the long run. So, it may not be a perfect budget. But I think we've got things in the right place, and I'm voting in favor of it tonight, and next year. We'll take another step further," said Jones.
Missoula Mayor John Engen also signed an agreement with Partnership Health Center to operate a mobile crisis team for the county during Monday evening's meeting.