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ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed has accused Mayor Tishaura Jones of defunding the city’s police department by millions of dollars.

Reed said the mayor ended the contract with the federal government to house federal prisoners in the Workhouse and downtown jail.

He said Jones placed more importance on keeping a campaign promise to close the Workhouse than on taxpayers’ wallets.

“The problem is we were making between $8 million and $10 million a year,” said Reed. “This year, we’re looking at about an $8 million hole. Now that that contract is gone, the question is how do we make that up. And in this case, what we’re seeing when you look at the police department budget from FY22 to FY23, there’s almost a dollar for dollar exchange. So it’s a further defunding of the police department. That’s defunding the police. I mean what else is it? It’s defunding the police.”

FOX 2’s Elliott Davis spoke with Mayor Jones’ spokesman Nick Dunne about the alderman’s concerns.

“Okay, right now our focus is on repairing the CJC [downtown Jail] and making sure we have adequate facilities to house our detainees,” said Dunne.

Dunne then added this unusual twist when asked when the administration was defunding the police, saying: “President Reed voted with the mayor and the comptroller to approve and send it to the Board of Aldermen last week. He told the Board of Aldermen Ways and Means Committee that this is a balanced budget that meets the needs of the citizens of St. Louis. So I don’t know where this is coming from.”

When asked what he thinks of Reed’s criticism, Dunne answered: “I don’t. I can’t speak to that. I don’t know where this is coming from. Like I said, it’s a budget that he voted on with the mayor and the comptroller, and this is something he told the Board of Aldermen was  balanced and meets the needs of the citizens of St. Louis.”

FOX 2 reached out to Reed for a follow-up to Dunne’s remarks. Reed’s spokeswoman said, “The budget isn’t final yet. She added that Reed “voted present but didn’t vote for the budget.”