AUSTIN, Texas -- Austin's 2019 budget proposal is essentially in its infancy, but the members of the Greater Austin Crime Commission are already saying they don't like what they see.
"The budget is not out, but there's an early budget out that only adds 15 new police officers. We need every citizen in Austin to hold the city accountable,” said Pete Winstead, president of GACC.
Wednesday, members of the commission expressed concern about Austin Police Department staffing numbers. In April, the city manager came up with an APD staffing plan that recommends hiring about 330 more officers over the next five years; specifically hiring 56 new officers in 2019.
However, the early 2019 budget proposal has room for only 15 new officers. While this proposal is not final, the commission says it needs to take action now.
"The crime commission in the past, we've been slow to react to the budget. And when we do come to City Hall we find the budget is already done. So this early look at the budget tells us get on top now and get people engaged,” said Winstead.
Downtown businesses depend on a strong police presence to reassure both tourists and locals.
"Public safety is number one. If you don't have a safe city, people will not want to come here to live, to work, to visit, to entertain, and then we've got nothing,” said Bill Bricewith the Downtown Austin Alliance.
In a statement, a City of Austin spokesperson told Spectrum News: “The Proposed Budget remains under development and we expect to release it next month.”
That budget is expected to come out on August 1 and be finalized in September. Austin Police Chief Manley was not available to comment on this story.