Skip to main content

A year after shooting, Ferguson faces financial toll

A year after Ferguson, Missouri, was torn by unrest over a white policeman's fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, the town that became a symbol of racial inequality in America faces a significant financial toll.

 

Several businesses that were looted or vandalized during riots in Ferguson are gone and its budget deficit has grown as costs, including overtime pay for the police force, have increased. Revenue from sources such as traffic fines, long used to pad municipal finances, has dropped and job cuts for city employees could follow.

 

For the 21,000 residents of the mostly black community of Ferguson, the year since the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Brown, which sparked months of unrest and racial tensions, has been one of slow recovery.

 

Economic strains are showing in a town that, even before the protests, never fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis.

 

"People have seen the images of a city out of control," said Brian Fletcher, a city council member and chair of a committee that has raised money for local businesses hit by the riots.

 

"It has been so difficult for the image of Ferguson this past year. It has been damaging to the economy," he said.

 

With an annual operating budget of around $14 million, Ferguson's deficit is forecast to increase to $3.2 million in the fiscal year ending in June 2016. That is up from $3 million the previous year and less than $1 million two years ago.

 

"We can't stay in deficit forever, we may have to start laying off employees," said Fletcher, a former mayor.

 

He said that could include cuts in the police department, since public safety accounts for about 60 percent of the St. Louis suburb's spending. The department is down to about 50 police officers instead of the 54 budgeted for, which means some savings, but overtime pay in the final five months of last year went $222,000 over budget; another $500,000 has been allocated to overhaul the department.

 

What's more, Ferguson has begun talks with the U.S. Justice Department over police reforms - which could cost millions - following a scathing report by the agency last spring. In it, the Justice Department said the mostly white police force routinely targeted blacks and showed a pattern of excessive force and illegal arrests.

 

TICKETS AND TAXES

The outrage triggered by the shooting of Brown, whose body was left lying in the street for hours after he was killed, threw Ferguson into the spotlight and helped spark a nationwide debate about race and policing and the use of lethal force against minorities.

 

Data kept by the state attorney general's office since 2000 shows that Ferguson police have been disproportionately stopping African-American motorists for years. In 2014, 82 percent of traffic stops were of blacks, who represent 63 percent of the population, and the arrest rate of blacks after traffic stops was three times that of whites.

 

About nine months after Brown's death, in a measure widely seen as directly linked to the protests over his shooting, the Missouri legislature passed a bill that sharply limited the amount of revenue municipalities can collect from traffic tickets and fines.

 

The move was hailed by some as a victory on the long road to police and judicial reform. But the cap, combined with a moratorium on red-light traffic tickets, has caused Ferguson's income from traffic fines to drop to about $1 million in the projected 2015-2016 budget, about half the level it was two years ago.

 

For now, Ferguson's city government is covering its deficit by tapping reserves, which are forecast to fall by two-thirds from before Brown's death to $2.7 million next year.

 

"The city is going to have to tighten its belt. There's going to be decreased revenue, but Ferguson is still a very viable city," said city council member Wesley Bell.

 

To offset declining revenue, officials are banking in part on economic development to broaden Ferguson's tax base. A small-business relief fund put together by a coalition of banks, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the state has allocated $735,000 in interest-free loans to 73 businesses to recover from lost business or damage during the unrest.

 

The town's largest property tax payers have stayed put, including manufacturer Emerson Electric, retailers Sam's Club, Walmart, and Home Depot, and a shopping mall: Crossing at Halls Ferry. Emerson is expanding, and Centene managed care is building a new claims center in town.

 

"The businesses are hopeful, and that's why they're still there," said Erica Henderson, Ferguson point person on the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. She was referring specifically to those businesses in the hard-hit West Florissant Street area of town that have used loans and grants to stay open after last year's protests.

 

"But they still feel the impact," Henderson added. "People drive through as if it's a shrine. The drivers don't get out of their car and spend money."

 

(Additional reporting by Carey Gillam and Edward McAllister; Editing by Tom Brown)

 

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

It's too bad every Black person in Ferguson, can't move out of Ferguson. It must be haunting to drive by the very spot Michael lay for 4 hours, dead ,blood flowing from his body like a river. Ferguson seems to be a place where angels fear to tread and Satan's taken over. Darren Wilson's not showing his face, but he damn sure's running his mouth. I still see Michael's father's head thrown back, mouth opened widely in grief during Michael's funeral. I don't believe his mother will  ever be able to smile again. Not cool, the direction America has turned. Beyond frightening, for Africans trying to continue breathing here for a length of time. 50 to 60 even 70 to 80 years would be good for the Brothers!!!! Are there a couple black 80 year old's besides Johnny Mathis alive??

 

 

Last edited by Norland
Originally Posted by Fabulous:

Yep, Ferguson made a lot of money from the unjust & unfair treatment of Black Americans… not to mention the thousands held in the facility known as Homan Square for over a decade.

Extorting money from blacks was their revenue plan. And if that racist had not killed Michael Brown things would have been the same. But this is going on in every city where a lot of blacks live. 

 

There is a wealthy municipal within Houston called Bellaire that have its own police dept, Bellaire is 80% white. A young black man was shot in front of his own house in front of his own mother and father by a cop who accused him of car theft. The parents told that asshole cop that he was their son driving their car and he was home but the cop shot him anyway. He lived but further investigation exposed the Belliare police dept was racial profiling blacks for traffic infractions and that 98% of those ticketed were Black and Latino. And this is how they were getting revenue for their budget, same shit going on in Ferguson. And that was back in 2008!

 

Family: Bellaire officer shot man because he's black

Police accused of racial profiling in incident that left 23-year-old hospitalized

http://www.chron.com/news/hous...use-he-s-1784172.php

Originally Posted by Momentum:
Originally Posted by Fabulous:

Yep, Ferguson made a lot of money from the unjust & unfair treatment of Black Americans… not to mention the thousands held in the facility known as Homan Square for over a decade.

Extorting money from blacks was their revenue plan. And if that racist had not killed Michael Brown things would have been the same. But this is going on in every city where a lot of blacks live. 

 

There is a wealthy municipal within Houston called Bellaire that have its own police dept, Bellaire is 80% white. A young black man was shot in front of his own house in front of his own mother and father by a cop who accused him of car theft. The parents told that asshole cop that he was their son driving their car and he was home but the cop shot him anyway. He lived but further investigation exposed the Belliare police dept was racial profiling blacks for traffic infractions and that 98% of those ticketed were Black and Latino. And this is how they were getting revenue for their budget, same shit going on in Ferguson. And that was back in 2008!

 

Family: Bellaire officer shot man because he's black

Police accused of racial profiling in incident that left 23-year-old hospitalized

http://www.chron.com/news/hous...use-he-s-1784172.php

OMG!!!

 

Thank goodness the young man lived through this.

 

I agree with your post, extorting money from black folk was apparently their revenue plan - yep, take money from the people/community with the least of it - that makes a lot of sense (NOT!).

 

And you're absolutely right, this is going on in every city that has a black community, as long as the system keeps getting away with it, the practice will continue. 

 

The truth must be revealed every time, because panties are showing and those panties are nasty and dirty and they smell foul….. The systematic murder & oppression of black people and the racist folks hired to do the dirty deed…must be kept on blast so people can understand what is 'really' going on here. 

 

The continued lynching of black people (via law enforcement & certain laws put in place to allow this behavior) is a perfect example of history repeating itself.

Last edited by Fabulous
Originally Posted by X-TREME BIAS:

I really have to ask this not that I'll get an intelligent answer because the behavior in question defies logic but why do blacks burn down, loot & destroy their own neighborhoods when a perceived racial injustice is done? I know why they never venture into White neighborhoods because they know better but do they ever think to go into the main business district where the "REAL" power lies to riot, loot & burn that down? Serious answers only.

 

Well maybe if you ask an "intelligent" question to begin with, you will get an "intelligent" answer.  

 

You asked the wrong question; the question should be:  Why does the MEDIA PROPAGANDA MACHINE fabricate the news to where it leads people to believe that when Black people "riot", Black people are "burning down and destroying their own neighborhood"?

 

Truth is, Black people do not burn down and destroy "their own communities" or Black-owned businesses.  Hell, even during the L.A. riots, non-Black business owners that did not disrespect or treat Black people unfairly, were deliberately and calculatedly spared.  But the Media didn't tell America that; nor did the Media mention just how many Black people were standing guard and protecting certain business owners' properties from being looted, burned or destroyed; nor did America's "media" let it be known that the L. A. riots started out as a riot against Police Brutality, with ALL races of people, but media propaganda was quickly utilized to make it appear to only be a"Black riot", with only Black people rioting, and/or that the riot was Black people vs. White people, etc., to quickly defuse White rioters participation.  

 

[It's all about who controls the narrative, and what they choose to do with it to to engineer perception, beliefs and knowledge].  

 

 

Last edited by sunnubian

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×