Costs of the “Occupation” Pile Up

Written by Jeff Johnson on October 18, 2011. Posted in General

County taxpayers have spent over $150K on the protests in the first 10 days

Today, the County Board received a report from administration that the OccupyMN protests cost Hennepin County taxpayers over $150,000 for just the first 10 days (through this past Sunday), most of it in overtime costs.  In addition, Minneapolis police said overtime has cost the city about $56,000.  The costs will continue at a pace of thousands per day as long as protestors continue to camp out on the Hennepin County Government Center plaza at night.

During the Open Forum portion of our meeting today, we heard from 24 different protestors, most of them asking that the county allow them to pitch tents on the plaza so they can continue to camp out into the winter. Although we did not vote on the tent issue, Commissioners Opat, Stenglein and Callison all expressed opposition to allowing tents for various reasons.  I explained that, while I admire anyone who stands up for their beliefs (even those beliefs with which I profoundly disagree), I was opposed to anything that would string this protest out any further (including tents) as it is costing my constituents a great deal of money.

And, a majority of the constituents I am hearing from have lost their patience with this protest after watching people trying to get arrested, blocking traffic and attempting to disrupt businesses downtown for the past week.

It’s time to go home.

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