Dear Mayor Dougherty, Council Members, and Mr. Corcoran:
My name is [YOUR NAME HERE], and I am a resident of Morristown. In light of the urgent movement for Black lives happening across our nation and a unified call for justice, I am writing to urge you to advocate for a meaningful reallocation of the city's expenditures away from policing and towards social programs and resources that support housing, jobs, education, health care, child care, and other critical community needs.
Accordingly, it has come to my attention that the 2020 budget allocated $7,285,252.04 to the police, an increase from 2019, outshining the city's other appropriations. For example, the allocation for the public health department does not even reach $200,000. This is egregious, particularly in light of the global pandemic. The policing budget is more than 35 times the entire budget for public health. New Jersey has been one of the hardest-hit states in the country, and while we open up more and more and expect people to come to Morristown for the bars, food, trails, etc., how can we justify this egregious disparity in funding?
I urge you to advocate for a complete overhaul of the city’s budget that directs significant funding away from policing. All over the country, American citizens are calling for budgets that truly represent the people’s needs. In a global pandemic, it is all the more critical to invest funds in areas like health, youth services, and other social programs. Mr. Corcoran outlined that the police responded to approximately 45,000 calls. There is no reason that armed police officers are needed for the vast majority of these calls. These can be done by other trained professionals. There are models for this being developed throughout the country as we speak.
I urge you to revise the FY 2020 budget to reflect the demands of Morristown's residents--ideally with the participation of those residents in the budget creation--and show that Morristown is committed to a vision of true public safety and eliminates harm for everyone.
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR PHONE][YOUR EMAIL]