Agenda Item # 11
Columbus Consolidated Government
Council Meeting

11/27/2018

Agenda Report # 65


TO: Mayor and Council

SUBJECT: 2018-19 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Competitive Grant #6 Emergency Victim Voucher 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 funding totaling $52,625 of which the federal award from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council is $42,100, along with $7,900 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund allocated in the FY19 Budget to provide funding for Crime Victim Assistance in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit from January 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019. Along with an additional In-Kind Match of $2,625 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 all 6 counties within the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Successful grant allocations since that time have sustained the program. The office currently employs 13.6 staff members; 12 full-time victim advocates, 3 part-time, and 1 partially paid.

Analysis: If approved, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Georgia will allocate $42,100 to Muscogee County Government to support the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the grant year January 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019. The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council requires a 20% total match ($10,525); the cash portion ($7,900) will come from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund allocated in the FY19 Budget and 25% of that match (which is $2,625) must come in the form of volunteer hours specified as In-Kind contributions. The District Attorney requests Council’s authorization to utilize $7,900 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds, which is the required cash match.

These funds will establish an Emergency Victim Voucher Program to assist eligible crime victims with expressed needs stemming as a direct result of the crime. Needs such as emergency home repairs, immediate housing issues, towing/impound fees, transportation issues, and any court-related issues to afford access for the victim to participate in their criminal proceedings.

Grant Funded Crime Victim Voucher Program

Total Award 52,625
Federal Portion: 42,100
20% Match: 10,525
Cash Match: 7,900
In-Kind: 2,625
Total Award: 52,625

Financial Considerations: The grant total is $52,625 with the Federal allocation of $42,100 along with $7,900 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund and $2,625 from the required In-Kind Match in the form of volunteer hours.

Projected Annual Fiscal Impact Statement: Due to the cash match coming from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, 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 $42,100 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, along with $7,900 from the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Fund, to meet the mandates of our requirements to serve crime victims and help all crime victims participate in the criminal justice system. This action will provide the funding for those specific issues that arise when victims desire to be a part of the judicial process. Funding will continue for a minimum of three years in the form of an annual continuation grant.


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 $42,100 FROM THE GEORGIA CRIMINAL JUSTICE COORDINATING COUNCIL ALONG WITH $7,900 FROM THE 5% CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE SURCHARGE FUND ALLOCATED IN THE FY19 BUDGET, TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE IN THE CHATTAHOOCHEE JUDICIAL CIRCUIT FROM JANUARY 1, 2019 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2019, AND, ALONG WITH THE $2,625 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 $42,100 to be allocated over a twelve-month period from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Georgia to support innocent victims of violent crime under the 1996 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), along with $7,900 from the 5% Crime Victim Assistance Surcharge Fund allocated in the FY19 Budget for the establishment of a Crime Victim Voucher Program; 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 with volunteers. Figures are based on a twelve-month period; and,

WHEREAS, the funding will be used to ensure crime victims are afforded the chance to take part in the criminal justice proceedings concerning their victimization; and,

WHEREAS, The District Attorney will continue to supervise the operation of the Victim-Witness Assistance Program in the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit from January 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019.

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 $42,100 from the Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council along with $7,900 of the 5% Crime Victim Surcharge Funds allocated in the FY19 Budget to fund the Victim-Witness Assistance Program which will extend over a twelve-month period beginning January 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019.
______________

Introduced at a regular meeting of the Council of Columbus, Georgia, held the _________ day of _____________ 2018, and adopted at said meeting by the affirmative vote of _____________ members of said Council.


Councilor Allen voting __________.
Councilor Baker voting __________.
Councilor Barnes voting __________.
Councilor Davis voting __________.
Councilor Garrett voting __________.
Councilor House voting __________.
Councilor Huff voting __________.
Councilor Thomas voting __________.
Councilor Turner Pugh voting __________.
Councilor Woodson voting __________.



_________________________________ __________________________
Lindsey Glisson, Deputy Clerk of Council Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor