Council considers body cameras for police department
First reading of fiscal year 2016 budget scheduled for Monday, June 8
At a special meeting on Monday, Spartanburg City Council heard options from Police Department staff and City Manager Ed Memmott for purchasing body cameras and tasers for city officers. In all, purchasing 125 Tasers for all sworn officers would cost the city $45,000 a over five years, and Body cameras would cost $266,000 for the first year and $123,000 annually for the next four years. Purchased together, tasers and body camera systems would cost $265,000 the first year and $148,000 a year for the next four years.
The discussion comes in advance of an expected first reading of the fiscal year 2016 city budget scheduled for Council's next meeting. Assistant City Manager Chris Story laid out potential expenditure increases that could be absorbed in the new budget thanks to around $1 million in increased revenue in 2015. Among the recommendations is a 2 percent cost of living raise for city employees at $327,212, medical insurance cost increases of, $189,132 for police operating costs and overtime, and a $153,517 increase to the city’s equipment replacement fund. Increases to the city's retirement and pension fund are also recommended, as well as technology upgrades for the city's IT department.
City Manager Ed Memmott stressed to Council that any additional spending, such purchasing body cameras and tasers for the police department, would require cuts to other areas that "would not be painless," and mentioned City Parks and Recreation as an area that could potentially see a reduction in services to balance potential additional cost increases. Council is expected to weigh in on the budget on with a first reading and public hearing on Monday, June 8 at City Hall (view map here) at 5:30 p.m.
Also at last night's meeting Council heard from the second round of organizations requesting hospitality tax funding. Council earlier decided to hear presentations from organizations requesting fiscal year 2016 funding in two rounds of meetings, and to appoint a committee to examine the process for distributing hospitality tax funding for fiscal year 2017. State law requires that 50 percent of hospitality tax funds be spent to encourage visits to the area, though no other stipuations are placed on the funding. In previous years, city staff has made recommendations to Council regarding which groups receive funding and how much each group receives. You can view the full list of organizations requesting hopspitality tax funding by following this link.
For more on Monday's meeting, see the full video and roundup of our live tweets below.