On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council will begin discussing its 2019-21 budget by holding a study session where it will discuss both unfunded liabilities and staffing. With an anticipated influx of $14 million in Measure W money, the Council would be wise to continue to invest a majority of new monies into police and code enforcement.
According to the wish list in the Staff Report:
- 11 additional police officers
- 1 full-time Crime Analyst
- 6 additional Community Service Officers
- 2-3 Records Technicians
- 1 Office Assistant in Animal Services
- 3 additional full-time Animal Care Attendants
- 1 full-time General Laborer
- 1 full-time Code Enforcement Officer
- 1 full-time Asst/Assoc/Snr Development Services/Engineering Tech
- Reclassify 2 general laborers to Street Maintenance Worker
It would behoove the City Council to approve these requests from these two departments because they are Antioch’s biggest needs. It is what most in the city want because crime creates the most news, negative impression and people are tired of gunshots and sirens. It was also the biggest reason why voters got behind Measure W in hopes of assisting in the solution of crime and blight.
But I will admit, the chiefs ask does not go far enough. Instead of 11 additional officers, it should be 20 officers, thus bringing the department to 124-officers which is what they previously had before the recession.
If you recall back to summer of 2018, the big debate came over whether or not 80% of new monies would go to public safety or 60%. You then had symbolic “no” votes by Lamar Thorpe and Monica Wilson forcing additional meetings because it never got the original 4/5 vote needed to place it on the ballot.
They justified this erroneous waste of time by claiming “polling”, but remember, polling can be done in a way that questions inch people towards certain answers for the desired out come those on the committee could want–such as youth programs and quality of life over public safety.
If the City Council wants a repeat of last summer when it couldn’t make up its mind over placing the measure on the ballot because it mixed in youth programs and quality of life issues over the need of public safety (a process that made Antioch look foolish and incompetent), look for the community to come out against the council in this budget cycle and into the 2020 election.
While some on the council will cry for more youth programs, basically pandering for votes, I’d like to remind those council members that the City has plenty of youth programs which many funds are unused or programs remain open for a variety of issues from lack of interest to failure to promote them properly. Perhaps the councils focus should be on ensuring youth fill up current youth programs already in place before adding more programs or funneling money away from the City into non-profits to run programs on behalf of the city.
If folks in purple shirts show up again, like they did during the discussions to place a tax measure on the ballot, you know the fix is in at the direction of certain city council members aiming to divert money away from public safety to instead fund pet projects. This is both unethical and self-serving.
Antioch should stop horsing around and get down to business to address the biggest needs of the city and simply appropriate funds where they would have the biggest impact. You have 20-years to address other issues and pet projects, however, the current need today is to get crime and blight under control so other departments can begin to thrive.
The City could spend $1 million a year to market lipstick on a pig but until crime and blight is resolved, the economic development team will simply be a revolving door. Imagine a city with reduced crime and looks nice, other departments would begin to thrive because economic development would actually be working. New monies from new business come in. More funding is available to fix other issues. Its a cycle that Antioch has failed to start.
As the budget cycle talks have began, now is the time for residents to show up to the these meetings and begin letting their opinions be known as to where money should be spent and what the priorities should be.
If you don’t show up, don’t complain that Antioch continues to suffer from lack of police and code enforcement.
If the Council breaks the public’s trust with the spending of Measure W money in this budget cycle, this council turns the rhetoric into reality by proving they are buffoons.
At that point, 2020 cannot come soon enough.
If You Go
Special Meeting/Study Session – 5:00 pm
Regular meeting – 7:00 pm
200 H Street, Antioch CA
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