Agenda Report # 40
SUBJECT: 2014-15 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Continuation Grant Program
INITIATED BY: District Attorney/Victim-Witness Assistance Program
Recommendation: Approval is requested to authorize the District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Assistance Program to submit and if approved, accept a grant for $84,138 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council along with $21,035 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund allocated in the FY15 Budget to provide funding for Crime Victim Assistance in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015. Along with an additional $5,328 which will come from an In-Kind Match contributed by volunteer hours, it is requested that the multi-governmental fund be amended by the amount awarded plus the local match.
Background: In July of 1989, the Office of the District Attorney began operating a Crime Victim Assistance Program. In October of 1992, the Victim-Witness Assistance Program was awarded the first Crime Victim Assistance Grant, thereby broadening the program for the provision of basic services. In July of 1995, additional funds were received from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, thus allowing the program to expand services to all 6 counties within the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Successful grant allocations since then have sustained the program. Although understaffed, the office currently employs a Victim Services Director and 6 advocates.
Analysis: For FY15, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council has allocated $84,138 to Muscogee County Government to support the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the grant year October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council requires a minimum 20% match and 25% of that or $5,328 must come in the form of volunteer hours specified as In-Kind contributions. The District Attorney requests Council’s authorization to utilize $21,035 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds, which is the minimum 20% match required.
The total amount of $110,501 represents the operating budget for salaries and wages of two full-time victim advocate positions with benefits and one part-time victim advocate position without benefits.
Grant Funded Crime Victim Advocates
§ FICA/Medicare - $2,488
§ Health – $5,650
§ Life Insurance - $153
§ Retirement – $6,654
§ FICA/Medicare - $2,410
§ Health – $5650
§ Life Insurance - $148
§ Retirement – $6,427
§ FICA/Medicare – $873
Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement: There will not be an annual fiscal impact as a result of awarding this grant.
Legal Considerations: Georgia Law requires the District Attorney provide extensive services, information and notification to crime victims. (O.C.G.A.-17-17-1) The District Attorney is solely and directly responsible for complying with this law as mandated by the Victims’ Bill of Rights. Legislature acknowledges that this mandate places additional burdens on prosecutors and have designed laws enabling utilization of the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund to assist in easing said burdens.
Recommendations/Actions: Authorize submission and, if approved, acceptance of a grant in the amount of $84,838 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, to continue the Victim-Witness Assistance Program in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. This action will provide funding for two (2) full time Victim Advocate positions and one (1) part time Victim Advocate position for the 2014-2015-Grant period.