Mayor Spear Wants Obama to Pay Up
Portsmouth Mayor Eric Spear says President Obama's visit to Strawbery Banke Museum on Sept. 7 cost city more than $30,000 in police, fire and public works costs.
PORTSMOUTH, NH -- Mayor Eric Spear knows how much it costs the city to accommodate President Barack Obama's visit on Sept. 7. to a local museum, and now he wants to see the city reimbursed.
According to a letter that Spear wrote to U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and U.S. Rep.-elect Carol Shea Porter, D-NH, on Nov. 27., the President's visit to Strawbery Banke Museum cost $30,003.24. He asked them to file legislation to make have the federal government reimburse communities for the costs related to a visit by a sitting President. Spear's letter was included in the City Council's meeting packet that is posted on the city's web site.
"While it is an honor to have the president in our communities during the election cycle, or outside of it, the costs for additional security and related expenses for these unanticipated events can severely strain municipal budgets. If the presidential campaigns or the White House do not reimburse the communities, taxpayers are forced to pay the bill," Spear wrote.
The City Council actually voted, 5-4, to bill President Obama and former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for any costs associated with their campaign visits.
During Monday night's council meeting, Spear said he wanted to refine his letter and make it clear that the city is seeking reimbursement for presidential campaign events after City Councilor Chris Dwyer raised that point.
This issue was the subject of fierce debate in Durham when the President visited that community in June as well as Windham and Rochester.
Durham town officials insisted the White House pick up the tab. Windham town officials and Rochester Mayor TJ Jean said the city would not bill the President for his visit on Aug. 18.