By Summer Bowman, Raven Madison and Sidney Smith, Staff Reporters
The Hoover city council announced Monday decreases to police funding starting with next year’s budget. The city said public safety was many other departments taking a shortfall due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on city finances.
The Council President, Gene Smith, said that the decrease in funding is not a direct result of the current protests and not in response to resident’s recent demands to defund the police.
Hoover resident Will Morgan said now is the time to offer raises, not cut pay.
“Unfortunately, while Hoover is a very safe community, that comes at a price,” Will Morgan, a Hoover resident said. “That price means we need to fund our police officers’ salaries and benefits.”
Councilman Derrick Murphy said not all interactions between the police and residents are negative and this should not be something overlooked by the city.
“Our officers do a lot of engaging things in the community, so it is not always from a negative point of view,” Murphy said. “I have had the opportunity to ride beats with officers to see how things are operated and how they are handled.”
Councilman John Greene finished the meeting by throwing his support behind the Hoover Police Department and its officers.
“I think the bottom line is that we support our police 100%,” said Greene. “I think they have done an excellent job and I believe I speak for the entire council when I say ‘thank you, officers'”.
Councilmembers did not specifically say by how the public safety budget would be short compared to previous years, but again emphasized that cuts were being made across the board.
In other business, the council:
- Passed an ordinance that will allow Hoover Mayor, Frank Brocato, to enter a mutual and automatic agreement with the City of Birmingham. Councilmembers say the agreement, like in neighboring cities like Helena, would allow the Hoover Fire Department to serve those surrounding communities affected by COVID-19.
- Approved the expansion of amenities offered by the Abingdon by the River senior center. A representative for the center, Jonathon Belcher, said this will include an indoor and outdoor pool, putting green and gymnasium.
- Rezoning of the Fire Department located on Shannon Road.
- Amended the budget for the 2020 fiscal year ending in September.