Obama Visit to Cost Kent $5,500

County commissioner wants to seek reimbursement

At least part of President Barack Obama's visit to Kent State University today is going to cost $5,500.

Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said that $5,500 estimated cost of the assistance city police and fire departments will offer to the U.S. Secret Service is mostly staffing.

"With nearly $40 million of the president’s stimulus funding at work rebuilding Kent OH, I feel like he’s got plenty of tab to work off before I have to worry about it," Ruller wrote on his blog Monday. "But I also don’t want to come across as making light of our financial troubles, so we ran the numbers and thankfully our local costs (mostly extra manpower) will probably end up around $5,500, which when divided up by the various departments involved should be manageable."

Kent, which is in the midst of a more than $100 million redevelopment, benefitted from a $20 million federal transportation grant to build PARTA's Kent Central Gateway transit center. Other projects around town, including the new Fairchild Avenue Bridge, also received money from the federal Stimulus Act.

Until Obama's visit was confirmed to be at Kent State city safety officials were unsure how much the presidential visit would cost.

Kent State spokesperson Emily Vincent told Ohio.com they don't yet know how much the visit will cost the university.

Obama will speak at the Memorial Athletic Convocation Center this afternoon. Doors open for the event at 3:30p.m. Tickets are required for admission.

Read about how the president's visit will effect the campus, and how you can watch it live, here.

Other local safety officials will aid in providing personnel, including the Portage County Sheriff's Office.

Portage County Commissioner Tommie Jo Marsilio said in an email to county officials that she plans to seek reimbursement from the president's campaign for any costs incurred by the sheriff's office, according to Recordpub.com.

Whenever the president makes a campaign stop the U.S. Secret Service coordinates the visit with local police and fire departments.

And the cost of the assistance provided by local departments typically comes out of local coffers.

Officials in Fairlawn, OH, estimate the president's overnight stay there cost the city $34,000 — mostly in personnel expenses.

Officials in Newport Beach, CA, tried to charge the Secret Service $35,000 for a campaign stop in February.

Max Milien, a spokesperson for the Secret Service, told the Newport Beach-Corona Del Mar Patch that the agency does not reimburse local safety forces for their costs associated with a presidential visit.

"This is not new. We have never reimbursed police departments," Milien said.

Eric M. Miller September 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM
The sales tax generated today from all of the extra people in town should make up a good chunk of that $5500. Aside from that, it means a lot of extra revenue pumped into local businesses, especially food and gas sales.
Rick September 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM
what a waste of money
Terry September 26, 2012 at 11:23 AM
A president visiting is something a community remembers forever, it's an honor and a privilege. Mr Miller is correct, the local community will make money on the extra revenue from food and gas sales, which will return to the city in the way of taxes.
Murphy-Solon September 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM
I agree with both Terry and Eric. It's both honorable and profitable. It sounds like Kent is experiencing a revival.
Pat September 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM
OH give me a break!! The city is forking out more money than they are letting on. Let's see when the students throw their parties every spring the city shells out more than $50,000 to their officers and other departments. And if any one is foolish enough to think the president will pay us back for our expenses--grow up this is the real world --check on Fairlawn to see why they don't want the president to come there again.
Murphy-Solon September 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Give me a break. If we've reached the point in this country when a Presidential visit is a major controversy, then God help us all.
Gary Michaels September 26, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Stop being so ignorant, people. If the city of Kent were to pay for the news coverage and online impressions that this would cost it would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Regardless of what side you're on, this is an honor for the city. Grow up.
Jessica Johnson Salamon September 26, 2012 at 02:40 PM
You hit the nail on the head, Gary. People are seriously being ridiculous over this. It is a shame that one of the most powerful men in the world can choose to visit our small town and it's viewed as some kind of affront. Also, I would love to see actual documentation where any Fairlawn official made a public statement saying they never want a President to visit them again.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! September 26, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I fear we have and it's embarrassing to say the least.
David Reith September 26, 2012 at 04:24 PM
John Williams September 26, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Complaining about $5,500 is silly. This is positively bringing Kent and Kent State into the news. The fact that a president (any president - regardless of party affiliation) would visit the city and university, very much casts the city and the university in a positive light.
David Reith September 26, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Hear, hear to Eric, Terry, Murphy-Solon, Rex, Gary, and Jessica
Frederick John Kluth September 26, 2012 at 07:35 PM
The desire of the city to collect the costs of the presidents visit is petty beyond belief. With this spirit in mind nobody important will visit Kent and it will slip into a murky backwater.
Myron Holley September 27, 2012 at 05:07 AM
More waste. This jerk o lies needs to go back to Chy town.


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