July 11 (UPI) — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked President Donald Trump to reimburse the $1.7 million his “Salute to America” Fourth of July celebration cost her government.
In a letter to the president dated Tuesday, Bowser said the president’s event and adjacent First Amendment demonstrations depleted the district’s already taxed Emergency Planning And Security Fund by nearly $2 million.
The fund, she said, will run an estimated $6 million deficit by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
“It is critical that the EPSF is fully reimbursed for these funds to ensure the district can uphold proper security and support during the remainder of the fiscal year without incurring a deficit from federal activities,” she said.
She also said the Trump administration has yet to reimburse the district the $7.3 million cost related to the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.
The fund had been relying on a surplus the Fourth of July celebration erased, Bowser said.
The letter comes as the district has been preparing its budget proposal for the 2021 fiscal year.
In the letter, Bowser said the reimbursement is necessary due to pressures the fund is now under as Congress allots about $13 million to thwart terrorism and provide security for rallies when it costs the district annually about $16.5 million
Chris Rodrigues, director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said Fourth of July events usually cost around $300,000, WJLA reported.
“Once the fund is depleted, D.C. government and D.C. taxpayers will have to eat any additional costs,” he said.
Last month, Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., wrote the House and Senate appropriations committees, asking for supplemental funds to the ESPF for this year, urging it to provide the district with $6 million “so it can continue to ensure the safety of all residents and all participants in federal events, without making local police and emergency services choose one or the other.”
Trump’s “Salute to America” consisted of an assortment of military equipment such as tanks and included several flyovers. In anticipation of the cost, National Park Service diverted nearly 2.5 million for the celebration, CBS News reported.
Trump had said a day before the event that its cost would be little compared to its worth.
“We own planes, we have the pilots, the airport is right next door (Andrews), all we need it the fuel,” he said on Twitter.