What’s Up in Newton this Week? COVID-19 cases continue to rise; Budget Deliberations continue; residents call for city leaders to defund Police Department; Three docket items targeted at Police Department; and more…..

COVID-19: COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Newton. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 771 as of June 11th, and the number of related deaths has risen to 118 as of June 9th. See latest stats from the City of Newton here or more detailed information on what’s happening statewide Daily Dashboard-here and Weekly Public Health Report – here. As the State and the City continue to re-open, please stay safe – wear a mask, and continue physical distancing as much as possible.

Budget Deliberations continue: Last week, despite the Zoom bombing and dispicable display of racism at the first Committee of the Whole Meeting, the City Council began its deliberations of the proposed FY2021 Budget, Capital Improvement Plan, and Supplemental Capital Improvement Plan with a lot of focus on the Police Budget and budgets that have seen significant cuts – eg. the Newton Free Library. Deliberations will continue this week beginning on Tuesday, June 16th at 6:00 p.m. and potentially continuing on Thursday and Friday.

Community Meeting on Police Budget: Almost 300 people showed up (virtually) to a well-organized, respectful community meeting regarding the Police Budget. Organizers called upon City leaders to do the following:

  • Reject any proposed increase in the Police Department Budget
  • No new Police Cruisers
  • No new hires, no recruitment (hiring of 5 new patrol officers proposed for $272,740
  • Defund the NPD by at least 10% in the FY2021 Budget and develop a plan for reallocation resources towards community solutions
  • Transfer mental health, addiction, or social service jobs and funds to Health and Human Services, and Education

If you missed it, you can watch it here.

Mayor to make public address: “…racism, public safety and the role of our police, our priorities as evidenced in our City budget, the pandemic and the economic recession” will be addressed by the Mayor, TONIGHT, at 6:00 p.m. You can watch it here or on NewTV.

Focus aimed at Police Department – with 3 targeted items to be discussed at Public Safety and Transportation Committee Meeting this Wednesday:

#275-20 Discussion with the Police and Human Resources about Newton practices COUNCILORS NORTON, DOWNS, GROSSMAN, LAREDO, MALAKIE, AUCHINCLOSS, NOEL AND BOWMAN requesting a discussion with the Newton Police Chief and Human Resources Director about Newton practices regarding recruitment, screening, training, advancement, and removal of police officers, including plans to increase the number of black and minority officers.

#279-20 Resolution on Newton Police Policy and Training COUNCILORS NOEL, ALBRIGHT, BOWMAN, NORTON, DOWNS, LEARY, LIPOF, WRIGHT, KALIS, KRINTZMAN, HUMPHREY, CROSSLEY, GROSSMAN, GREENBERG, RYAN, DANBERG AND AUCHINCLOSS submit a resolution to ensure Newton Police policy and training reflects the values and commitment of our community, reducing police violence, facilitating citizens’ First Amendment Right to peacefully protest, and actively engaging in non-biased community policing.

#280-20 Discussion with Police regarding department policies COUNCILORS ALBRIGHT, BOWMAN, DOWNS, GREENBERG, LEARY, KELLEY, WRIGHT, KALIS, HUMPHREY, MALAKIE, GROSSMAN, DANBERG, NOEL, LIPOF requesting a discussion with Chief McDonald and appropriate members of the Police Department regarding policies and procedures around the use of force and measures to combat racism. One possible outcome to augment departmental community policing might be a citizens’ oversight body that reflects the demographics and values of Newton.

Weekly Road Construction Schedule: The Weekly Road Construction Schedule is now available here.