Rochester City Council unanimously voted to approve Mayor Lovely Warren’s $501.6 million, 2015-16 budget proposal Tuesday, June 16. Warren said the budget reduced spending by $2 million, down from the year before, and held property taxes flat, at $172 million.
“City Council members have been welcome partners in our efforts to serve city residents, as we strive to provide more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, and better educational opportunities for our children,” the mayor stated.
The budget includes $2 million for police body cameras; spending for recreation center upgrades; city housing repair and rehabilitation programs; neighborhood infrastructure, support for investment in festivals and events; and operational costs for swimming at Durand Eastman Beach.
According to city council members, the public strongly supported police body cameras, as well as investments in neighborhoods and educational programming, so the council made sure to include those items in the budget.
Tuesday morning, before the vote, members of Rochester’s clergy held a press conference at City Hall in support of the cameras, and recently presented suggested policies and protocols to the mayor’s office regarding the Rochester Police Department’s use of the cameras.
“Rochester has the opportunity to be the leader on body-worn camera policies,” said Rev. Lewis Stewart, president of The United Church Leadership Ministry.
In addition, religious leaders recently called for a moratorium on RPD officers’ use of tasers, and the implementation of police body cameras, following the recent death of a man who died after being tased by an officer on Tremont St.
The clergy members asked to take part in reviewing the policies regarding the use of the cameras by the department.
According to RPD Chief Michael Ciminelli, the department will soon release a request for proposal to select the type of body cameras the department will use, and will also request input from the public regarding policies and usage of the cameras. He said the department plans to implement a new system for using the cameras by the end of the fiscal year.