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      City of Amarillo financial report shows public safety a top priority

      The City of Amarillo's 2012 Annual Financial Report shows the city spent $258 million in 2012.

      G eneral fund revenue in 2012 increased more than $5 million, compared to 2011. The fund's expenditures also increased almost $4 million dollars in 2012, compared to the previous fiscal year.

      "The general fund is kind of the major fund of the city, it's where we get our sales tax and our property tax numbers for revenue. On the expenditures side, it's kind of what you think of as a face of the city ," said Assistant City Manager Michelle Bonner.

      P ublic safety made up the largest segment of city spending, at $88 million for the Amarillo Police Department and Amarillo Fire Department.

      A ccording to the report, APD directed patrol was successful in decreasing crime by 5% in 2012. The directed patrols have also worked to decrease crime by more than 20% since 2009.

      " T he chief started using a directed patrol method. You take officers and put them into areas where we're having crime," said APD Sergeant Brent Barbee.

      Am arillo Crime Stoppers also helped reduce crime, with more than 1,600 tips in 2012.

      " I t's able to be even more specific than directed patrol in some manner the crime stoppers fugitive of the week are captured very regularly. I think we got 47 out of 48 that he posted last year ," said Barbee.

      W ater and sewer rates, separate from the general fund, account for $58 million in spending per year.

      "G etting the water in, treating it, getting the water back out and treating it. It's definitely a major function for the city," said Bonner.

      The report also gave insight into future expenditures for 2013.

      "T he commission has, in the past, focused on public safety. I think that's still going to be a priority," said Bonner. "Looking at our aging infrastructure like our roads, making sure those are maintained, they'll also focus on that."

      For more on the City of Amarillo 2012 Popular Annual Financial Report, visit www.amarillo.gov.