San Jose Police Jobs Could Be Saved By Money Set Aside For The Arts

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Arts funding in San Jose could be taking a hit after a city council member proposed diverting some of the money to reduce the number of police officer layoffs.

Councilman Pete Constant, a former San Jose Police officer, has released nine budget proposals to provide the funding to prevent 97 police officer layoffs. One of his proposals calls for decreasing arts and cultural funding.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

“The City of San Jose has long funded various arts and cultural programs, and those are programs that are important to the community, but quite frankly those are not as critically important in this time of need as public safety,” said Constant. “I’m suggesting taking only the portion that is funded by the general fund. That is approximately 17 percent of the arts funding that’s currently being spent, and allocating it to the police department to hire more officers.”

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said that he will seriously consider the plan.

“We have a big problem in our police department; the escalating costs primarily due to retirement and cost increases, we’re going to try to cover some of that with sources elsewhere in the fund, and arts is something we’re going to have to look at along with other funding sources to try to save some jobs in the police department,” said Reed.

Police department staffing could be reduced by more than 200 if the Police Officers’ Association doesn’t agree to ongoing ten percent wage and benefits concessions by the end of June.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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