Obama's One-Night Stay in Fairlawn Cost the City Over $34,000
Mayor Roth intends to seek reimbursement, but other U.S. towns haven't had luck getting paid.
Having the sitting president of the United States stay overnight in your town is a big deal. And it's a really expensive deal, Mayor William Roth told City Council members Monday.
Roth said President Barack Obama's overnight stay July 5 at the Hilton Hotel on West Market Street cost the city more than $34,000 for employee labor and materials needed to meet security requirements mandated by the U.S. Secret Service.
Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten reported that his department spent $5,297 on materials and racked up $12,192 in labor costs to erect numerous detour and police signs and 4,800 feet of orange snow fencing around the Hilton.
The department's materials breakdown included $2,074 for fencing, $2,025 for rebar, $720 for rope, $159 for the rental of a generator and electric hammer, $222 for a drill and bits, nearly $80 for cable ties and $16 for PVC piping and PVC cement.
Staten – who personally worked nearly 48 hours straight to prepare for the presidential visit – reported that his department's stated costs "do not include items that are difficult to quantify, which would include vehicle expenses, planning, meetings and my time and effort."
The Fairlawn Police Department ended up paying out $5,397 for its officers to work 281 combined manhours of security and traffic detail. And that figure doesn't include the costs incurred by area departments that provided assistance, such as Bath Township Police, Copley Police, the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Summit County Sheriff's Office.
The Fairlawn Fire Department spent $4,036 in personnel costs to meet Secret Service mandates, according to Chief Russ Hose. That number doesn't include the time put in by Hose and Capt. Rich Dobson or wear and fuel costs related to the multiple vehicles the department used for Obama's sleepover.
"Besides staging a squad all night at (the Hilton), we escorted (Obama's) procession to the city of Youngstown to provide medical coverage," Hose reported in a memo to Roth.
The mayor told council members Monday that an invoice detailing the city's costs will be sent to "the powers that be" for reimbursement, but that he doesn't know what kind of response to expect.
Other U.S. cities seeking reimbursement for Obama campaign visits haven't fared well, according to media reports.
The city of Newport Beach, CA, has been trying to collect $35,000 from the Obama campaign for security costs related to a February fundraising trip made by the president, according to the Newport Beach-Corona del Mar Patch website.
The bill should go to the Secret Service, agency spokesman Max Milien told a Patch reporter. But the city should know that the Secret Service refuses to pay it, he added.
“We do not reimburse police agencies for assisting us in providing our protective duties,” Milien said. “This is not new. We have never reimbursed police departments.”
On June 25 the New Hampshire Union Leader ran an editorial criticizing the Obama campaign for refusing to reimburse the town of Durham, NH, the $13,000 it cost to provide public safety services for the president's campaign stop that day.
Also seeking reimbursement for a presidential visit is Westport, CT, which spent about $15,000 when Obama came to town Aug. 6.
And NBC Chicago reported earlier this year that the town of Springfield, IL, is still waiting to be reimbursed $55,480 for providing security services for an Obama campaign stop that took place four years ago this month.