Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa spent $48.5 million of $50 million federal grant for RNC security

TAMPA — Congress appropriated $50 million for security at last year's Republican National Convention, but the city did not spend the full amount.

In all, the city spent $48.5 million from the grant on everything from bringing in police officers from all over Florida to surveillance cameras to cans of pepper spray (which were not used) to manure forks for the police horses (which were).

Nearly $1.38 million of the grant money was never spent, but the city doesn't get to keep it.

Instead, because the grant reimbursed the city's security expenses, Tampa never even got that money, city chief financial officer Sonya Little said Friday.

Not all of the city's convention expenses were reimbursed. The RNC ended up costing Tampa taxpayers $676,932 for things the grant did not cover.

Those costs included overtime for nonsecurity employees, the relocation of 250 employees from downtown to a remote location, trash pickup and the cost of welding manhole covers in place.

Costs not covered by the grant also included a $260,000 hit to parking revenue because the city had to close parking lots and garages and suspend on-street parking the week of the convention.

Major expenses

• $2.32 million for surveillance cameras.

• $6.12 million for police radios.

• $1.18 million to upgrade video downlinks from police helicopters to ground commanders.

• $272,904 for an armored SWAT truck.

• $1.3 million for police training.

• $2.7 million to lodge out-of-town officers.

• $1.37 million to feed officers.

• $2.36 million for Tampa police overtime.

• $254,942 for Tampa Fire Rescue overtime.

• $3.69 million for pay, overtime and benefits to Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies and detention officers.

• $9 million for law enforcement officers from other agencies.

• $937,401 for Florida National Guard personnel costs.

• $797,597 for chemical aerosols, irritant gases, less-lethal rounds, distraction devices, pepper balls and equipment.

• $406,733 for security fences around government buildings.

• $319,400 for police bicycles.

Not major (but worth mentioning) expenses

• $44,379 for five Segways.

• $60,000 for a spectrometer to identify potential explosives, toxins, chemical warfare agents and white powders.

• $50,959 for two long-range acoustic devices, known as L-Rads, which can be used to address crowds or disperse them with loud "deterrent tones."

• $63,368 on dignitary motorcade vehicles.

• $93,594 on caps to lock 465 downtown fire hydrants.

• $42,579 for bomb blast window film to protect Tampa City Hall and the city's Municipal Office Building.

• $10,200 for portable toilets.

• $891 to print pamphlets for demonstrators with tips from the American Civil Liberties Union and a downtown map.

• $1,500 for an electronic news clipping service for intelligence gathering.

• $598 on large fans for tents where police dogs rested.

• $4,900 for bales of hay to feed police horses.

• $180 for manure forks.

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