Budget amendment gives more money to Duluth police, fire

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Members of the Duluth City Council from both sides of the political spectrum are supporting a series of amendments to the city’s proposed budget to increase funding for police and fire.

The four-part "Safer Duluth For All plan" includes a one-time 15 percent pay increase for police, a $100,000 increase in annual general funds for police and fire department training, the establishment of an ongoing and permanent funding source for the city’s community crisis intervention program, and changes city staff salary and healthcare.

"The way we are able to do this is by leveraging American Rescue Plan dollars, one time federal funds, that help accomplish all of these things and keep things as affordable as possible for our city taxpayers," City Council Vice President Arik Forsman said at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

Mayor Emily Larson and Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman were in attendance at the press conference, along with City Council President Renee Van Nett, Public Safety Chair Gary Anderson, and Finance Chair Derek Medved.

The amendments will be further discussed the city council’s agenda session on Thursday night and then voted on at next Monday’s council meeting.