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Gainesville City Commission reallocates $150,000 to gun violence prevention program

The Gainesville City Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to reallocate $150,000 for city administrative services to a stand-alone gun violence prevention program.

The budget allocation of $150,000 for gun violence prevention programming had been approved Feb. 7 but was left for pending review by the city commission. This followed the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority’s reduction to General Fund revenues that resulted in a $1.4 million revenue shortfall to the city of Gainesville.

This vote also comes after a reported 30% increase in gun-related homicides, according to Gainesville Police Department’s quarterly gun-related statistics.

During Thursday’s meeting, Brandy Stone, Gainesville Fire Rescue’s Community Health Director, went over a presentation regarding the city commission’s previous motions, the actions taken in response and the solutions for the future.

A year ago, the Gainesville City Commission passed a motion recognizing gun violence as a public health crisis. Actions taken since then include the establishment of the first Gun Violence Prevention Summit in August 2023, as well as the internal reallocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds to hire a dedicated Gun Violence Prevention and Intervention Program Manager.

Despite the reallocation of funds and future plans to prevent gun violence, some residents in the audience were still upset over the city commission’s actions.

“The fact that the house on fire is this one and you all are around here trying to buy curtains and accents instead of putting the fire out is a level of absurdity,” said Chanae Jackson, organizing director of a statewide coalition called Florida For All.

In an open letter to the city commission, Jackson said she had asked the city for $250,000 for the At-Risk Youth Seed Grant and the $150,000 allocation for the Gun Violence Program, which she said is less than half a percent of the actual budget. The open letter had amassed 260 signatures within two and a half days.

Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker read the open letter during the city commission meeting. She especially noted Jackson’s criticism of the refusal to move the agenda item to the evening when more community members are off of work.

“These types of conversations are so critical and so important,” Duncan-Walker said. “I certainly hope that when we have them in the future we can place them at a place on the agenda where more people can attend.”

Susan Browder, 76, is an advocate for Moms Demand Action. Browder’s daughter Sarah was fatally shot in 2012.

“The violent death of a loved one is excruciating, but the cost don’t stop with our own personal pain,” Browder said. “On average, each gun death costs taxpayers a statistical average of $274,000 for initial and long-term repercussions of that incident.”

“Reducing our expenditures for preventing these deaths may feel like we’re saving money, but we would actually be increasing future expenses both short and long term,” she said. “Surely one life saved is worth far more than the cost of one death.

Jessica is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing