Officials in Silver Spring Township say that the Donald Trump campaign rally on Aug. 1 cost its taxpayers nearly $12,000, and they are now looking to Cumberland Valley School District to collect.
“That’s $12,000 worth of road repairs that won’t happen and/or $12,000 of something else that was budgeted that won’t happen,” Silver Spring Township Supervisor Robert Seader said. “In a hurricane or flood recovery type situation, you eat that and say ‘yeah, we didn’t see that coming.’ But something like this isn’t in our contingency plan. Why would it be?”
Seader attended Monday’s Cumberland Valley School Board meeting and presented the board with a bill for the cost incurred by the rally in which several thousand people filled the district’s Dome Gym and Performing Arts Center to hear the Republican presidential nominee speak.
“The bill itself consists mostly of police overtime, there’s some public works overtime ... and there was some salary time in there that we counted because that’s going to have to be comp time later,” Seader said.
He explained this included costs for employees like the township manager and emergency planner, who will be given comp time for working the weekend prior to the rally to prepare.
Silver Spring Township provided 20 officers for the rally, according to Township Manager Theresa Eberly.
Cumberland Valley spokeswoman Tracy Panzer said the invoice from the township was handed over to the district’s solicitor for review.
The Trump campaign has received an initial bill from the school district for $4,750 for the rental of the facility and estimated costs. Panzer said the district will send a second bill for the actual costs incurred by the district.
The total amount of both bills is expected to be between $10,500 and $11,500, according to information obtained by The Sentinel through a right-to-know request.
As of Aug. 15, the Trump campaign had not paid the initial bill, which is due on Aug. 31.
“Costs for facility rentals are established by, and outlined in, (school district) Policy 707,” Panzer said. “Those fees cover wages for manpower and costs generally associated with operating a facility, such as lighting, heating/cooling, water, etc.”
Panzer, while making no indication what would be done in this situation since it was not a district-sponsored event, said it is typical practice for the district to reimburse local agencies like law enforcement for costs incurred during larger school-sponsored events like football games and graduation ceremonies.
On top of township costs, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department incurred roughly $3,500 in overtime expenses as a result of the rally.
The Sheriff’s Department provided 13 deputies, six exempt managers for crowd control and security during the event.
The county’s K-9 unit trained in bomb detection was also used during the rally, according to the county.
“As the requests were made by federal and local law enforcement partners of Cumberland County, there will be no request for reimbursement,” the county said in a written statement. “Similar services have been provided to presidential candidates of both parties in the past, along with sitting presidents; and would be provided as appropriate to any similar event – regardless of affiliation – in the future.”
Seader said the only other time he could remember that required this level of exhaustion of township resources was when a tornado touched down in the area in 2011.
“Nobody is going to arrange for that or pay for that,” Seader said. “That comes out of the budget as an unexpected, unavoidable event.”
Seader said, however, the Trump rally is different.
“We were in crisis mode, but we didn’t have to be,” Seader said. “Somebody made a decision to do this. It wasn’t just thrust upon us. We didn’t have to do it, and neither did they.”
Seader said the township is giving the district 30 days to respond to the invoice. If no response is received by then, he said he would go back to the board for answers.
“The fire police, the fire companies themselves, all these people have regular paying jobs that they didn’t go to that day and their employers took the brunt of that by not having resources on site because they were there,” Seader said. “There are bigger repercussions than that $12,000.
“They need to think about things before they agree to them,” he added.
Attempts to contact the Trump campaign went unanswered.