City Council meets to discuss budget


by KVUE News

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

AUSTIN -- It's budget time at Austin City Hall.

Topping the agenda for council members is spending money on public safety. More police officers and special event overtime are some of the reasons why the Austin Police Department says it needs an extra $14 million from City Council.

This increase would put APD at an operating budget of nearly $300 million. Police Chief Art Acevedo says a good chunk of the money will go toward hiring about 92 more officers. Acevedo says the increase is needed to maintain the department's two officers per 1,000 citizens ratio.

Chief Acevedo said a number of those officers are needed for proactive policing, maintaining or improving response times, and Acevedo wants a special nighttime highway enforcement division to help reduce highway fatalities.

In addition to this, APD wants $415,000 in unpaid overtime for special events like Formula 1 and the Texas Relays.

They're also asking for 38 more civilian staff members. That includes victim services counselors and forensics specialists.

Acevedo also said the rising cost of health insurance is a challenge.

On Thursday APD will present these unmet needs to City Council. Members will also hear from other city departments to help come up with its budget, which is expected to be more than $3 billion.

One factor could throw everything off. The City is still in negotiations with all three public safety unions: fire, police and EMS. This means personal costs could increase.

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