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Shooting on Rauschenbach

Police investigate a shooting in the 3100 block of 3100 Rauschenbach Avenue in St. Louis on Monday, June 3, 2019. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS — The city's top fiscal body on Tuesday agreed to allocate $500,000 for a violence prevention program such as Cure Violence in the fiscal year beginning next month.

But the Board of Estimate and Apportionment disagreed with the aldermanic Ways and Means Committee's recommendation last week that such a program be funded by reducing the amount allocated for police overtime.

Instead, the board voted 2-0 to go along with Budget Director Paul Payne's proposal that the program instead be funded using part of the money paid by the federal government for housing federal prisoners in the city jail downtown.

The $500,000 had been allocated to contractual services for the jail building and its grounds.

Mayor Lyda Krewson was joined by Aldermanic President Lewis Reed in voting for the shift. The shift and other proposed budget changes made Tuesday by the board still must be accepted by the full Board of Aldermen.

But the estimate board's proposal says Cure Violence is among various alternatives to be considered.

The proposed budget item says whatever program is adopted "must be proven to reduce shootings and killings by a minimum of 30%" in similar-sized cities.

The mayor said she opposed any reduction in police overtime because the city is well over 100 officers short. "I do not want to tie their hands, if you will, by cutting their overtime budget," she said.

Mark Schlinkmann is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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