Dear Members of the Springdale City Council,
My name is [YOUR NAME], and I am a resident of Springdale, Arkansas. In the past few weeks our nation has been gripped by protests calling for rapid and meaningful change in response to police brutality toward Black Americans. I believe that change should begin by defunding law enforcement and investing in community programs and infrastructure.
Millions of dollars every year are funneled toward law enforcement and mass incarceration systems that are harming our communities more than they are helping them. Springdale’s 2019 city budget breakdown shows that 30% of the general fund was spent on law enforcement activities, while less than 2% was allocated to sanitation, planning and community development, engineering, senior services, buildings, animal services, and cemetery services .
The funds that Springdale has budgeted for law enforcement and incarceration should be redirected into COVID-19 relief, affordable housing, education, healthcare, community centers, updating infrastructure, and community-led organizations. While Springdale has spent extraordinary amounts on policing, I have not seen sufficient improvements to safety, community and diversity initiatives, infrastructure maintenance, or housing affordability in our town.
Springdale would be better served by dedicating resources to programs that are more effective at promoting safety and social equity. For example, public spaces such as community gardens and parks have always been part of what makes Northwest Arkansas such a beautiful community, and that should not be restricted only to the wealthy areas of town.
We can be a beacon for other cities to follow if only we have the courage to change. Can I count on you to consider an alternative budget that puts a focus on social service programs?
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]