DURHAM — Leave has been cancelled for all Durham police officers for Monday as the town prepares for a visit from President Barack Obama.
Town officials say, like any community, they open their arms to a visit from the President, but they are concerned about who will pay for the additional town personnel needed to handle his campaign stop at Oyster River High School.
A Presidential visit typically costs the town of Durham between $16,000 and $20,000, Selig said, as it requires road closures, accommodating a large motorcade, significant preparations and a significant police presence.
“We will have every police officer employed by the town of Durham and then some, all fire personnel and then some, and the taxpayers of Durham having to bear the cost of a campaign visit is of tremendous concern to us,” town administrator Todd Selig said.
Historically, if the President of the United States makes a formal presidential visit to Durham, the town covers the cost.
However, if it is a campaign stop, organized and provided by the campaign, then the campaign reimburses the town, Selig said.
As of Thursday evening Selig said they had not received confirmation that they would be reimbursed for the additional services required.
“The campaign has not indicated thus far that they are prepared and planning to reimburse the town of Durham for its public safety additional costs,” Selig said.
On Thursday evening, a campaign official said they will follow all rules and pay for the portion of travel that relates to political events, as has been true for previous incumbent Presidential candidates.
No further comment or clarification from the campaign was provided.
Selig said the town’s expectation is that they will be fully reimbursed for costs, as they were by the George W. Bush campaign when he spoke in Durham several years ago during a re-election campaign stop while President, Selig said.
“As the manager of Durham, I want to ensure, whomever the President is, and whatever party affiliation the President has, that the taxpayers of Durham are not burdened by a campaign stop, that the campaign covers those campaign-related costs,” Selig said. “So we are hopeful that in the next day or so we will receive confirmation that the campaign will cover the costs.”
Monday’s event is being promoted by the Obama for America-New Hampshire office. Tickets are being sold through Obama campaign offices scattered throughout the state.
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Gretyl Macalaster may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.