NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Local Governments Feel Pinch of Security Costs

November 9, 2001

Cities, small towns and even rural areas are having to spend more for security purposes in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks -- and they are having to scrounge to find the money. It is too early to total up the costs, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the burden will be substantial.

  • Homeland defense is costing California up to $1 million a day and officials say the tab could exceed $500 million by the end of the year for the state and local governments.
  • Atlanta has spent $15 million just on police overtime since Sept. 11.
  • Seattle's King County wants to impose a $3 million "domestic security" tax.
  • Chicago Mayor Richard Daley proposed a budget this week with $76 million in terrorism-related costs.

A National League of Cities survey last month found that large majorities of cities with populations over 100,000 had ordered tougher security around public water facilities, government buildings, airports and schools.

But some jurisdictions have special needs. New Orleans has to consider security for its Mardi Gras. Alaska must protect its 800-mile oil pipeline. Cities located on coasts or waterways must protect their ports.

Even rural areas are feeling the pain. Pennington County, S.D., is experiencing more interstate traffic accidents because highway patrol officers are concentrating on truck traffic.

Sources: John Ritter, "Cities Feel Security Cost Pinch," and "From Big Cities to Rural Areas, the Costs Are Adding Up," both in USA Today, November 9, 2001.


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