Implementing a Cure Violence program in Greensboro has been a matter of discussion for over a year and it was brought up again by City Councilmember Sharon Hightower at the City Council Work Session Tuesday July 16 in the Plaza Level Conference Room.
For about six months councilmembers held secret meetings with Guilford County Commissioners on implementing a jointly funded Cure Violence program.
Those secret meeting culminated in a public Guilford County Board of Commissioner and Greensboro City Council meeting on Cure Violence held in May.
The result of all those secret meetings was a plan to have One Step Further the nonprofit headed by City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson run the program with the county and the city each paying about $250,000.
However, Guilford County did not put $250,000 for Cure Violence in the 2019-2020 budget. The original budget presented to the City Council had $250,000 for Cure Violence, but when the county passed its budget without the allocation, city staff said the $250,000 for Cure Violence would be put in the Greensboro Transit Authority budget. The truth is that with the tax increase the city budget is so fat that the city can come up with $250,000 anytime it wants.
But it appears that only Hightower is in favor of implementing a Cure Violence program without the support of Guilford County.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said while there was no money in the county budget for Cure Violence, the county had allocated $250,000 for Greensboro’s proposed new mental health department. Vaughan said the city could put the $250,000 from the county into mental health and take $250,000 of the $500,000 budgeted for mental health and spend it on Cure Violence.
Even Johnson who was involved in the deliberations both as a councilmember and the executive director of One Step Further said she was not in favor of that funding scheme. She said, “One Step Further doesn’t use money designated for one thing for something else. It never has. It never will.”
Johnson said that she was doing research on programs around the country that are trying to reduce the increase in violent crime, not just Cure Violence and she wanted more time to complete her research.
Durham the only city in the state with a Cure Violence program has had an increase in murders since the program was implemented.