NH Towns Bill Campaigns for Visits

Thursday, 18 Oct 2012 01:36 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Hampshire likes the attention of the presidential contenders, but some communities are complaining about the extra cost to state taxpayers their visits are running up.
 
In fact, several cities, including Nashua, Portsmouth, and Milford, have sent bills to the candidates asking to be reimbursed for police overtime and other expenses associated with the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.
 
The Romney campaign has reimbursed a few venues, including St. Anselm College, where Romney and running mate Paul Ryan appeared back in late August. The Republican campaign also has covered overtime costs for local police in Goffstown.
 
On the Obama side, some supporters have offered to reimburse local towns to help cover expenses for any security overtime associated with the president's appearances.
 
But for the most part, issues of local costs when it comes to the president's travel are being left to the Secret Service to deal with.
 
“The U.S. Secret Service takes the lead on all security matters with regard to President Obama. These are not decisions made by the campaign," an Obama campaign official told the Union Leader. "Any local law enforcement organization contacted by the Secret Service to assist in security should discuss matters related to costs and how to effectively manage those costs with the Secret Service."
 
The state police and larger city departments are used to working with the Secret Service and insist a campaign visit costs almost nothing if handled correctly.
 
For example, Manchester Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Maureen Tessier said the city doesn't bill the campaigns because only on-duty police are used to help provide security. Work schedules are rearranged if necessary to avoid overtime charges.
 
Some other large communities do charge, however. For example the Portsmouth City Council voted recently to bill the Obama campaign $30,000 to cover costs associated with a campaign visit from the president and Vice President Joe Biden.

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