Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Riot to cost city at least $1.5 million


1st estimates cover overtime, cleanup

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati's riots have so far cost the city between $1.5 million and $2 million in overtime and other expenses.

        The estimate — the first released by the city — shows that most of the expense comes from paying overtime to police, and to crews that cleared streets of debris.

        It also includes costs for broken windows at City Hall and vandalism at Findlay Market and damage to other city-owned property.

CURFEW'S TOLL
    Other communities in Hamilton County incurred additional expenses for imposing curfews:
    • Norwood Safety Director Cliff Miller said enforcing a curfew cost an extra $25,800 in overtime pay.
    • Cheviot Police Chief Dave Voss said a two-day curfew cost that city about $2,000 in overtime and extra equipment.
    • Green Township said there was no additional cost for imposing its curfew.
    • Elmwood Place has not yet figured a curfew cost.
        City Manager John Shirey declined to comment on the costs. But in a memo to city council, he described the costs as “very preliminary.”

        Mayor Charlie Luken said the overtime figures don't surprise him.

        “All I can tell you is that we are holding the line on expenditures,” he said. “We keep looking to make cuts.”

        This month, Mr. Shirey said the city's budget suffered a $7.5 million shortfall because earnings-tax revenues fell flat for the first time in a decade.

        Assistant Finance Director Bill Moeller said the city hopes the state will cover some of the expenses.

        To qualify for state assistance, Mr. Moeller said, damage must exceed one half of one percent of the city's $300 million operating budget, or about $1.5 million.

        The estimate does not include losses by private businesses during the four days of unrest following the April 7 police shooting death of Timothy Thomas, nor does it include money the city will spend to help those businesses recover.

        Economic development officials say 112 businesses were damaged during the riot.

        The city will not have to pay for 120 state troopers who spent four days in the city. Their overtime pay comes from the patrol's “off-highway” account, which also covers duties such as guarding the governor and working at the state fair, said spokesman Lt. Gary Lewis.

        That amount has not been calculated.

        Allen Howard contributed to this report.
       



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