Atlanta City Council approves mayor's 2021 budget

The Atlanta City Council has decided to give the green light to Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom's 2021 budget, which includes proposals aimed at making changes to policing in the city.

The approval came during a special meeting with council members last light.

Among the items included in the budget are increasing funding ford the Atlanta Citizen Review Board, which receives citizen complaints about police officers.

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"We have to provide increased education to our citizens on the role that the board provides to citizens who feel that their rights have been violated by the police," District 12 Councilwoman Joyce Shepherd said. "This funding is an increase of staff for community outreach, marketing, training, community liaison/public affairs officer, resolution reviewer and more."

The budget also funnels around $1.5 million towards expanding the Atlanta-Fulton County Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative, which is aimed at keeping people out of jail.

District 2 Councilman Amir Farokhi said that the decision to move the money out of jail funds to the program was a "powerful statement that we can change how we approach public safety in Atlanta.

"PAD substitutes care for arrests by using social and behavioral expert intervention," Farokhi said. "Its expansion reflects the commitment of the Mayor and Council toward a more humane public safety approach in complement to our police department."

The council agreed to set aside funds to establish an Equitable Growth Grant to help address income inequality and encourage middle-wage jobs.

In a statement to FOX 5, a spokesperson for Mayor Bottoms said that the budget "reflects our Administration's priority of equity investments in our communities."

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