Speakers question Durham County contract with security firm

06/11/2014 6:44 PM

06/11/2014 6:44 PM

The Durham County Board of County Commissioners heard from about 25 speakers at a public hearing on the proposed 2014-15 budget.

Speakers opposed the county’s association with a security contractor, as well as proposed cuts to open-space funds.

Speakers from Jewish Voice for Peace raised concerns about the county’s contract with G4S, a contractor that also operates in Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The group’s speakers complained of human rights abuses by G4S in those areas and called on the commissioners to end the county’s $1 million contract with the firm. The firm provides security for libraries and parking lots in Durham County.

About 20 supporters of Jewish Voice for Peace turned out for Monday’s hearing.

The commissioners also heard from open-space supporters who were concerned about the proposal to cut a $75,000 a year program that has provided matching funds for small projects and to cut by 20 percent the county’s $500,000 annual fund for larger projects.

The budget proposal by new County Manager Wendell Davis includes a 2.73-cent increase to the county property tax rate.

The new rate would be 80.17 cents per $100 valuation, meaning the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $1,603.40 a year.

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