AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over the course of an hour on Wednesday, KXAN went in-depth on eight proposed state constitutional amendments and two Austin propositions during a special virtual town hall. Prop A, as you might have expected, dominated the conversation.
If passed by voters, Prop A would add hundreds of officers to the APD force, but opponents fear the potential price tag (up to $598.9 million over five years) could mean cuts to other critical services, including the fire department.
During the town hall, Austin City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly, a backer of Prop A, said the idea that the council would cut any public safety funding “absurd.”
“We see a large sum, millions of dollars, going toward homelessness in the community. We see it (going) toward social services and those sorts of things that really don’t need to be funded by the municipal government,” Kelly said. “We could rely on our government partners to fund those items.”
But Mayor Steve Adler said public safety is already 70% of the city’s budget. Adler said Prop A’s cost would have to come, at least in part, from that public safety pot.
Adler commented: “But since you can’t cut it from police, if Prop A passes, that means it has to be cut from EMS or fire.”