Tricky Dilemma - How To Fund More Cops - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Tricky Dilemma - How To Fund More Cops

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As loud as the sirens that accompany the lights, so too is the message echoing through city hall.

"There's one thing the public is demanding and has for several years is more public safety, more police, more fire," said mayor Bartlett.

And while the mayor and many on the council at least agree on that...

"We've gotta have more police officers on the street than we do right now," said councilor GT Bynum.

Exactly how to do that is now a matter of debate.

"Will it be easy? Will it be painless? No," said Bynum.

Councilor Bynum wants to add a second police academy to the budget, but to do that...

"There will have to be cuts in other areas," he said.

As for mayor Bartlett...

"We can solve the problem, we can reach the minimum manning levels by simply re-purposing the taxes we're already paying," he said.

Doing that would generate roughly $12 million dollars a year for streets and public safety.

"All we have to do is simply re-purpose, re-prioritize, and things will be much easier to accomplish," he said. 

"Oh, I'm opposed to the mayor's proposal," said Bynum.

As he describes it, that re-purposing comes with it's own cost.

"We'll have streets that aren't in good shape, we'll have buildings that are falling apart, we'll have police cars and fire trucks that are breaking down," he said.

Finding funding for more public safety, either way you slice it, it ain't easy.

"Finding some new money one time, that's admirable, but we have to look at it for the long haul," said Bartlett.

"What we've got to look at here is prioritizing things, not just increasing taxes to cover something that a lot of people want to see happen," said Bynum.

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