Breaking down the cost of Trump’s Madison rally to area agencies

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT)– While politicians representing Madison agree that it’s good Madison was able to host such a large event of political significance when Donald Trump came to town, they may disagree about the price tag.

City Council President Tim Holcombe said the calculated costs to each Madison department affected is as follows:

  • Police: $18,778.04
  • Fire: $6,443.66
  • Public Works: $5,107.85
  • Recreation: $435.43

“That’s a lot of taxpayer money that we’re going to have to find that isn’t currently in the police, fire, and public works budgets,” explained Holcombe in an interview Wednesday.

But Mayor Troy Trulock said it’s too soon for sticker shock.

“Our job is to provide public safety for any kind of event that happens,” he explained, saying that the city and its mutual aid partners provide that kind of support for other events including football games at the stadium, too. He equates the public safety cost to about a $1.20 per person attending the rally (an estimated 25,000 people).

We asked if the city can afford the total, calculated as $30,764.98.

Trulock said yes, citing a separate budget for contingency. Holcombe conceded that there is a budget like that, but it depends on a mid-year review to make those funds available. He said there’s more than enough, but the $30k cost initially took him by surprise.

Holcombe has previously told WHNT News 19 about concerns following the Trump rally with regard to Mayor Trulock. He has explained that he wishes there had been more communication between the mayor and the council before the event, but now they must all collectively decide how to handle the cost that remains.

Mayor Trulock said the city often recoups money in these situations through commerce and increased business in the area during big events.

While managers at Old Black Bear tell WHNT News 19 they were packed “all day” during the Trump rally events, and a local Subway manager tells us he doubled the amount of business he usually sees that day, managers at Sam & Greg’s and Pie in the Sky tell us they saw business as usual.

It seems the Madison City School system saw the best deal. Along with the $10,000 lease WHNT News 19 previously reported, they may also keep most of the $10,000 deposit the Trump campaign left as part of a contract to mitigate any damages to the stadium and grounds post-rally. Spokesman John Peck says while costs are still being tabulated, there was field restoration, custodial work, electric/water use, and cleanup done after the rally that will be billed to Trump’s campaign. He added that it’s already certain their full deposit will not be returned.

WHNT News 19 also reached out to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, and Captain Michael Salomonsky said the cost to them was no more than $500. He said their agency had 27 personnel at the event. 23 were nonpaid reserve deputy corps, 3 were salaried employees, and 1 was a lieutenant who received overtime.

We also expect to hear from the Huntsville Police Department Thursday.

Mayor Trulock initially sent us this statement before an interview Wednesday.

“I am very proud that we were able to put together a very safe and successful event in less than 72 hours for an estimated 25,0000 in attendance.

The Madison City School System received $20,000 ($10,000 up front and $10,00 down payment) and two booster clubs received almost $5,000 through concession sales. The city receives reimbursement through economic development (money spent in our businesses) when the estimated 25,000 attended the event. After the event, I visited a local Madison business and was told by the owner and his wife that the sales for that day were at least 100% if not 200% more than their normal day. In addition, the city received regional and national recognition. I have been told that the event was shown on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Headline News, NBC Nightly News and with a reported 300 press passes provided for the event, the city was well covered. The cost for the event is approximately $30,000 and with an estimated 25,000 in attendance (from the Secret Service & MPD estimates) that results in about $1.20 per person for public safety. The city provided public safety support for the event just like any high school football game or large event at the stadium. The city could become involved in a legal dispute if the city decided to charge this event while not charging other events for public safety support.

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