The Winston-Salem City Council passed a new $532 million budget Monday night — a move that prompted some pushback among community activists. They say it does not do enough to address rising gun violence in the city.
The budget includes about $1.3 million for initiatives meant to address crime. Just under a quarter of that will go towards programs that help those leaving prison to reenter the workforce. The rest is set aside for pre-K education, mentoring, conflict resolution initiatives and a gun buyback program.
Activist Nakida McDaniel told council members it's not enough.
“It's just a good start," said McDaniel. "We'll likely need at least $5 million to have a comprehensive solution for ending gun violence.“
A $1.6 million increase in police spending was also included in the budget. Emily Barnes of the Triad Abolition Project objected.
“I find it odd that amid this budget of compromises, the City Council still openly funds policing over community initiatives," said Barnes. "More police is not a solution to deeper community issues and it never has been.”
The budget also funds pay raises for city and public safety employees and a new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. It passed 7-1.