Obama’s visit costs D51 $2,500
School District 51 will charge President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign nearly $2,500 for costs incurred by the district during Obama’s campaign event last week at Grand Junction High School.
“The costs to us are going to be what we charge the Obama Campaign because they graciously offered to pay for any costs we incurred,” District 51 spokeswoman Christy McGee wrote in an e-mail Tuesday to The Daily Sentinel.
The district will bill Obama’s campaign $2,496 for overtime pay for custodial staff at the high school, additional hours for technological support personnel, air conditioning use, fencing and rope materials and five days of security support. The charge includes a $500 facility use fee as well for use of the Grand Junction High School gym.
The campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also asked to be charged for costs incurred by the district during Romney’s July 10 visit to Central High School. The district billed Romney’s campaign the same $500 facility use fee plus $1,460 for air conditioning, four days of security support and additional work hours for personnel.
McGee said the tallies do not include additional hours for salaried District 51 workers who worked on setting up the event or wages for employees who already were scheduled to work.
Other agencies involved in Obama’s event will absorb all costs themselves. The city of Grand Junction helped control traffic and provide security during the president’s stop last week. The city spent $13,259 on overtime pay and $15.204 on regular hourly wages for personnel who worked a regular shift or extra hours as part of the police, fire, 911 communication center, parks and recreation, streets and storm water, solid waste or water divisions, according to Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras. The city used equipment during the event that would have cost an outside entity $5,375 to rent from the city if the city were to charge for its use.
The Grand Junction Fire Department provided 14 personnel, three ambulances and two engines during Obama’s visit to Grand Junction, which would have cost $5,230 if the Obama campaign were billed for wages and standard equipment charges, according to Fire Department spokesman Mike Page. The actual cost to the fire department was $1,080 in overtime for seven fire personnel asked to help the standard daily crew of 30 fire personnel cover the event as well as other service calls in the community.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department provided 40 personnel to assist the Grand Junction Police Department during Obama’s event on Aug. 8, according to Benjamin. Some of those personnel are agency volunteers and other are salaried, leaving the sheriff’s department with an estimated $3,000 to $4,000 in overtime costs, Benjamin estimated.