Nov 13, 2011 12:51 AM GMT
Money the city cannot afford. In a way it's ironic... where do you suppose the money will be redirected from?
The city’s price tag to monitor the entrenched Occupy Seattle protest ballooned to $529,609 this week, which includes last week’s pepper-spraying and arrests of protesters in Capitol Hill.
Much of that cost was for police overtime, but includes money for parks and facilities work related to the populist movement.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said managing Occupy Seattle has taken a “big chunk” of a police fund reserved for monitoring events.
“It’s taken a big chunk of their reserve in this area, and if they go past it, they’ll have to figure out how to readjust their budget to deal with it,” the mayor said Thursday.
Last week, Occupy Seattleites protested at a Chase bank in Capitol Hill and outside a downtown appearance by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Before the demonstrations, which included arrests and police pepper spray, the city’s cost was $486,051.
Afterward, it rose by $43,558 to hit the half-million mark. The money dates back to Oct. 1, when protesters set up at Westlake Park. They’re now encamped at Seattle Central Community College in Capitol Hill.
The latest figure prompted McGinn to say:
“Preservation of public safety – making sure that people can protest, can express themselves, can do so in a way that’s safe to others and protects the rights of overs – that’s important to get it right.”
Jesse Mulert, an organizer with Occupy Seattle, said the group – as taxpayers – wants a “breakdown and justification” of the city’s expenses.