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Mayor Spear Backs Off on Seeking Obama Rally Reimbursement

Portsmouth Mayor Eric Spear said he will not send letter to New Hampshire's Congressional delegation seeking legislation to reimburse communities for campaign visits.

Mayor Eric Spear has decided not to pursue legislation that would require the federal government to reimburse communities for campaign events such as President Barack Obama's rally at Strawbery Banke last fall.

Spear said Monday night that the letter he first presented to his fellow City Councilors on Dec. 4, which was addressed to members of the New Hampshire Congressional delegation, did not garner much support from the council. While Spear said he could have sent the letter without council approval, he didn't feel that would be prudent.

In December, Spear said Obama's campaign rally at Strawbery Banke Museum on Sept. 7 cost the city more than $30,000 in police, fire and public works related costs and he wanted to see the city reimbursed.

Spear wrote his letter to U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and U.S. Rep.-elect Carol Shea Porter, D-NH, and asked them to file legislation to make the federal government reimburse communities for the costs related to a visit by a sitting President.

"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 for any costs associated with their campaign visits.

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.

Kevin Kervick January 09, 2013 at 11:58 AM
So, Spear is not following the mandate he received from City Council? And the Obama campaign team is saying screw you to Portsmouth?

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