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Terrorism is costly for Palm Beach

Palm Beach County has spent about $2.8-million on expenses from anthrax infestations and terrorist threats, officials said.

Future costs for special equipment and police staff and training are expected to exceed $6-million.

Fire-Rescue, the Emergency Operations Center, the Sheriff's Office, the Health Department and the city of Boca Raton racked up $430,000 during the week of Oct. 8, the height of the anthrax scare, said Paul Milelli, director of the Public Safety Department.

"It's not a big price when you look at it. But for some agencies, it's going to be a big cost to them," he said.

The biggest single tab is at the Palm Beach International Airport. Officials expect to spend $1.7-million this year on security, including additional sheriff's deputies, more contract security workers and bomb-sniffing dogs, said Mike Simmons, the airport's fiscal director.

The Boca Raton Police Department spent $60,986 to post at least four officers at American Media Inc. for about three weeks in early October when anthrax was discovered there.

The city's Fire-Rescue spent another $34,744 for overtime to cover the regular duties of the people assigned to AMI.

But addressing the anthrax and terrorist threats last month cost the county's Emergency Operations Center less than the presidential election recount last year.

The Emergency Operations Center in West Palm Beach spent $12,165 through October on the threats. They spent nearly $64,000 for the recount, said Brian Hanley, special projects coordinator for the center.

Hanley said they had to feed the workers during the recount, which cost about $20,000.