Agenda Item # 2

Columbus Consolidated Government

Council Meeting

10/28/2014

Agenda Report # 40


TO: Mayor and Council

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

Financial Considerations: The grant-funding total is $110,501 with the Federal allocation of $84,138 along with $21,035 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund and $5,328 from the required In-Kind Match in the form of volunteer hours.

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.


A RESOLUTION

NO._____


A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE CITY MANAGER TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION, ON BEHALF OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND, IF APPROVED, TO ACCEPT A VOCA GRANT OF $84,138 FROM THE GEORGIA CRIMINAL JUSTICE COORDINATING COUNCIL ALONG WITH $21,035 FROM THE 5% CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE SURCHARGE FUND ALLOCATED IN THE FY15 BUDGET, TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE IN THE CHATTAHOOCHEE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT FROM OCTOBER 1, 2014 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2015, AND, ALONG WITH THE $5,328 IN-KIND MATCH, AMEND THE MULTI-GOVERNMENTAL FUND BY LIKE AMOUNT.

WHEREAS, the District Attorney is requesting the acceptance of a VOCA Grant in the amount of $84,138 to be allocated over a twelve month period from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to support innocent victims of violent crime under the 1996 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), along with $21,035 from the 5% Crime Victim Assistance Surcharge Fund allocated in the FY15 Budget for salaries and benefits; and,

WHEREAS, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council requires a minimum 20% of the grant come in the form of a match and 25% of that be an In-Kind Match to be met through the use of volunteers. Figures are based on a twelve month period; and,

WHEREAS, the funding will be used to maintain two full time Victim Advocate positions and one part time Victim Advocate position, funded in the FY15 grant from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Grant funding will provide crime victim assistance services in Chattahoochee County, Harris County, Marion County, Talbot County, Taylor County and Muscogee County; said services being mandated by Georgia Law; and,

WHEREAS, the District Attorney will continue to supervise the operation of the Victim-Witness Assistance Program in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE COUNCIL OF COLUMBUS, GEORGIA, HEREBY RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:

That the City Manager is hereby authorized to submit and if approved, accept a grant of $84,138 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council along with $21,035 of the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds allocated in the FY15 Budget to fund the Victim-Witness Assistance Program which will extend over a twelve month period beginning October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015.
_____________

Introduced at a regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia, held the _________ day of October, 2014 and adopted by the affirmative vote of ___________ members of said Council.


Councilor Allen voting __________.
Councilor Baker voting __________.
Councilor Barnes voting __________.
Councilor Davis voting __________.
Councilor Henderson voting __________.
Councilor Huff voting __________.
Councilor McDaniel voting __________.
Councilor Thomas voting __________.
Councilor Turner Pugh voting __________.
Councilor Woodson voting __________.



_____________________________ ________________________
Tiny B. Washington, Clerk of Council Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor