Cleveland’s mayor has insisted that court-mandated reforms to the city’s police department are not the only reason he is asking voters for a city income tax increase, but officials appear to recognize that it is necessary to avoid cuts to staff and services, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The reforms are mandatory, and if the city doesn’t have more money, something will likely have to give. The City Council will vote today on whether to put the proposed tax increase, which would raise the municipal rate from 2 percent to 2.5 percent, in front of the voters. If passed, it is expected to generate more than $80 million in the first year.
The costs associated with police reforms became clearer last week, when police administrators presented a request for 120 more officers over the next four years at a cost of more than $11.7 million. It was the first time the department gave a glimpse into what a reformed department could look like. Police Chief Calvin Williams said that about half those positions are directly related to the consent decree. Many of the additional officers are geared toward community-oriented policing.