Dave Wallace: Is a domestic violence investigator position for Craig justified?
December 19, 2017
The 2018 city budget has received the final stamp of approval earlier this month with the addition of a $35,000 contribution to the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership and $95,000 for a domestic violence investigator, which were approved in the Craig City Council meeting. The Craig Press editorial published Dec. 7 raises some concerns as I attempt to digest the last paragraph, "Through passage of this budget, council members have made an excellent beginning in the quest to leverage the new sales tax dollars into lasting economic recovery and eventual economic prosperity.”
Let's go back a bit further to a Craig Press article published Nov. 9. After ballot measure 2A passed, there were several members of the community, including a couple individuals from the city government, who were asked about the additional funding. Not once were, safe city initiatives, reducing community crime, or the reduction of alcohol and drug abuse mentioned, but funding economic development found its way to the response column.
Economic development is only one point on the Silver Star awarded to a successful community. Would community development not be a better term?
Now, let me refer to the city-data.com website, which lists city crime levels and law enforcement statistics. Craig's crime rate is higher than Steamboat Springs and twice as high as the neighboring communities of Hayden and Meeker. Craig's crime rate is greater than 63.5 percent of all U.S. cities. Now, I don't know about you, but I believe it would be very beneficial to the community to get this reduced and under control. The only way this can happen is to identify and address the cause rather than chasing after the effect.
When I look at the $95,000 approved for an investigator, I have to question the justification. For the past eight years, our community has had an investigator filling this position. The difference is, the funding had been provided by the federal government through a grant.
Referring back to Craig Press editorial of Dec. 7, it was stated "domestic violence and sexual assaults were on the rise."
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Now, I would think after eight years of this program being in place, we should see some favorable and positive results showing these cases on the decline. Where are the performance statistics that justify its existence, and why was the grant not reinstated? Please don't misunderstand me; I am not saying this position is not beneficial. I am merely looking for the justification and prioritization when taxpayer dollars are being spent.