Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Cost of Occupy Philly for its first week: $230,000

The city's total price tag for Occupy Philly's first week is $230,000, PhillyClout reports. The vast majority — $200,000 — of these costs were from police overtime. (Straight police time is not included in these figures.) Going forward, the city expects the average weekly expense to be $112,000. It's Our Money spoke with budget director Rebecca Rhynhart about these costs, and learned a few things worth noting. Occupy Philly protesters argue that less — and perhaps no — money should be spent on policing them, since they have their own safety committee and conflict-resolution strategies. City officials argue that police are needed to guarantee public safety. However, it appears the city is deploying fewer police, since police overtime costs have dropped significantly. On the first day of the protest, Rhynhart said, the city spent $61,000 on police overtime. This Wednesday, that fell to $12,000.

Cost of Occupy Philly for its first week: $230,000

Caitlin Morris

The city's total price tag for Occupy Philly's first week is $230,000, PhillyClout reports. The vast majority — $200,000 — of these costs were from police overtime. (Straight police time is not included in these figures.)

Going forward, the city expects the average weekly expense to be $112,000.

It's Our Money spoke with budget director Rebecca Rhynhart about these costs, and learned a few things worth noting. 

Occupy Philly protesters argue that less — and perhaps no — money should be spent on policing them, since they have their own safety committee and conflict-resolution strategies. City officials argue that police are needed to guarantee public safety. 

However, it appears the city is deploying fewer police, since police overtime costs have dropped significantly. On the first day of the protest, Rhynhart said, the city spent $61,000 on police overtime. This Wednesday, that fell to $12,000.

Rhynhart said that costs for "straight police time" — when police are reassigned from other areas to Occupy Philly — are also dropping.

Where did the other $30,000 go in the first week? A one-time $15,000 IT equipment cost to set up a City Hall command center for police and various smaller costs incurred by the public property department, streets department and others.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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