When presidential candidates visit Toledo, who pays the security costs?

When presidential candidates visit Toledo, who pays the security costs?
(Source: WTOL)
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Presidential campaign visits to Toledo can be exciting, and also expensive.

While supporters were cheering for presidential hopeful Donald Trump at the Huntington Center back in July, Toledo police officers were working to make sure everyone stayed safe. Lt. Joe Heffernan says that racked up $20,000 in overtime.

"We do different things to try to minimize the cost," said Lt. Heffernan. "We use as many on-duty people as we can, again, we get help from some of our law enforcement partners, the Sheriff's Office, State Highway Patrol - try to spread it out as much as we can. But we're also not going to sacrifice the security either."

So who pays when candidates visit? The short answer is Toledo taxpayers.

However, George Sarantou, city finance director, says they work within the budget already set for the year.

"You're always going to have some sort of event, whether it's a presidential visit, or you're going to have a major concert coming to town that you didn't know was going to happen last year, or some athletic event, or special parades or that," said Sarantou. "We basically built into the budget contingencies, and really you have to do that."

Sarantou says it might be easier if the candidate paid for their own security, but that just doesn't happen.

"This is a democracy," said Sarantou. "This is the price we pay for the freedom."

If the cost for these presidential campaign visits exceeds what the city was expecting, Sarantou says they'll have to move things around and make cuts, even though it's getting close to the end of the year.

"It would be a challenge, but we would have to do it because we have to have a balanced budget," said Sarantou.

Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp says the cost to Lucas County during presidential campaign visits is usually low because they mostly use their volunteer reserve deputy force of about 120 people.

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