Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg finally receives check from Tampa for RNC expenses

ST. PETERSBURG — The check from Tampa finally arrived.

The city received $1,241,547 for expenses connected to last August's Republican National Convention — about $39,945 less than requested.

A memo sent Wednesday to the City Council said that $33,825 of the unfunded expenses was for officer training and is under review by Tampa and federal auditors. The money could be reimbursed at a later date; no other agency has been reimbursed yet for training, the memo said.

Mayor Bill Foster believes the money will come: "This is good and expected news."

If the reimbursement happens, taxpayers would only be on the hook for $5,730 for portable toilets, pension costs and information services.

Melanie Bevan, assistant police chief, said staffers worked to ensure that expenses were covered under the federal grant, adding: "We're pleased with the reimbursement we received."

In the months and weeks leading up to the welcome party at Tropicana Field in August, Foster emphatically stated that taxpayers wouldn't pay for security-related expenses.

In September, he disclosed the city faced an estimated $5.2 million deficit for fiscal 2012. Part of that, $580,000, was used to prepare, secure and clean up the city before and after convention activities.

A city document classified the $580,000 as "estimated RNC costs and no revenue." In the following weeks, controversy swirled around the figure. The City Council and many residents demanded answers.

Foster insisted that a final accounting of expenses would absolve taxpayers of the $580,000. But he said residents would pay about $28,000 for police expenses. He reiterated that taxpayers should consider hundreds of hours in training and the $500,000 in equipment gained by the police department for working the convention.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow on Twitter at @markpuente.

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Published: 06/21/18