Brooklyn Center Proposed Budget Adds Firefighters, But Not Police
The 2024 budget proposed by Brooklyn Center city staff members offers funding for new firefighter positions, but does not fund new police positions.
This week, the council gave feedback on the proposal. Some members said they were concerned.
The discussion comes after Brooklyn Center Police Chief Kellace McDaniel announced plans to retire in January 2024.
“We need to find a way to fund [new police] positions reasonably over time,” said Brooklyn Center City Council Member Dan Jerzak. “And we owe that to the new person coming on board too so that they’re not inheriting a deficit from day one.”
City staff members are asking for a $1.9 million, or 8.5 percent increase in the 2024 preliminary budget and levy.
The largest portion of that budget increase — $1 million worth — is for a cost of living adjustment for staff.
“Departments are operating now, they’ve been asked to go back to [their] 2023 [budgets],” said Reggie Edwards, city manager. “So there is really no meat left on the bones. It’s a fairly bare minimum.”
For 2024, New Full-Time Firefighters in Budget
Approximately $200,000 in the proposed budget would go toward funding two full-time firefighters.
Currently, the fire department operates on a paid-on-call model.
Eventually, the department will move to a 24-hour, full-time duty crew model, according to Edwards.
“We had to get started somewhere,” Edwards said. “We don’t think that the department is going to fall apart in the next year or two if we don’t do this. But we know if that we do nothing and it keeps on its current course, then our fire department would not be able to function in a stable manner.”
No New Police in Brooklyn Center Budget for 2024
Meanwhile, as the police chief makes plans to step away from the police department, the budget does not fund any new police department positions.
A recent labor study of the police department recommended the city hire 16 more officers.
The city has budgeted for for up to 49 police officers, Edwards said. The department currently has 40 officers.
“We will go with the current staff in which we have,” Edwards said. “[We] believe that will be able to be sustained .. we still have room to be able to hire on.”
Brooklyn Center City Council Opinions
The council expects to continue budget discussions.
Brooklyn Center Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson and Jerzak said they wouldn’t support the current proposal.
“I think we need to send a clear message as this council that we support the fact that [the police department has] been running on fumes for a long time,” Jerzak said. “Support what came out in the labor study and support them as a council.”
Brooklyn Center Mayor April Graves said she was in support of funding a new police sergeant position rather than new patrol positions.
“We have nine police officer positions that are unfilled right now so it doesn’t makes sense to me to make it 11,” Graves said.
Likewise, the council expressed concerns about funding a deputy city manager position.
Prior to the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, Edwards served as deputy city manager under former City Manager Curt Boganey.
The council fired Boganey shortly after Wright was shot. They later appointed Edwards as city manager.
Several council members said they want to see the deputy city manager position brought back into the budget and the position filled.
“It is a priority, we’ve made that clear as a council,” said Brooklyn Center City Council Member Teneshia Kragness.