Agenda Item # 8

Columbus Consolidated Government
Council Meeting

11/10/2015

Agenda Report # 52


TO: Mayor and Council

SUBJECT: 2015-16 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Special Award through Prosecuting Attorney’s Council (PAC)

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 $81,836 from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council along with $15,344 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund allocated in the FY16 Budget to provide funding for Crime Victim Assistance in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. Along with an additional In-Kind Match of $5,114 to be 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 the 6 counties within the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Successful grant allocations since that time have sustained the program. Although understaffed, the office currently employs a Victim Services Director and 6 advocates.

Analysis: For FY16, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia has allocated $81,836 to Muscogee County Government to support the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the grant year October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia along with the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council requires a 20% match and 25% of that (which is $5,114) must come in the form of volunteer hours specified as In-Kind contributions. The District Attorney requests Council’s authorization to utilize $15,344 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds, which is the minimum 20% match required. The total amount of $102,294 represents the salary and wage for a newly created position of Victim Advocate/Investigator who will assist in providing services to crime victims from the time of arrest.

Financial Considerations: The new position total is $102,294 with the Federal allocation of $81,836 along with $15,344 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund and $5,114 from the required In-Kind Match in the form of volunteer hours.

PAC Grant Funded Victim Advocate/Investigator
Position #1:
Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement: There will be no annual fiscal impact as a result of 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 $81,836 from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia, along with $15,344 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, in order to begin providing services from the moment an arrest occurs. This action will provide the funding for a newly created Victim Advocate Investigator position to be in place for at least the next three years.


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 $81,836 FROM THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY’S COUNCIL OF GEORGIA ALONG WITH $15,344 FROM THE 5% CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE SURCHARGE FUND ALLOCATED IN THE FY16 BUDGET, TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE IN THE CHATTAHOOCHEE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT FROM OCTOBER 1, 2015 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2016, AND, ALONG WITH THE $5,114 IN-KIND MATCH, AND AMEND THE MULTI-GOVERNMENTAL FUND BY LIKE AMOUNT.

WHEREAS, the District Attorney is requesting the acceptance of a VOCA Grant in the amount of $81,836 to be allocated over a twelve month period from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia to support innocent victims of violent crime under the 1996 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), along with $15,344 from the 5% Crime Victim Assistance Surcharge Fund allocated in the FY16 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 create a new position of Victim Advocate Investigator who will provide services to crime victims from arrest; 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, 2015 through September 30, 2016.

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 $81,836 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council along with $15,344 of the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds allocated in the FY16 Budget to fund the Victim-Witness Assistance Program which will extend over a twelve month period beginning October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016.


___________

Introduced at a regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia, held the _________ day of _____________ 2015, and adopted at said meeting by the affirmative vote of
_____________ members of said Council.



Councilor Allen voting _______________.
Councilor Baker voting _______________.
Councilor Barnes voting _______________.
Councilor Buck voting _______________.
Councilor Davis voting _______________.
Councilor Henderson voting _______________.
Councilor Huff voting _______________.
Councilor Turner Pugh voting _______________.
Councilor Thomas voting _______________.
Councilor Woodson voting _______________.



_______________________________ _________________________
Tiny B. Washington, Clerk of Council Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor