Occupy LA Policing and Cleanup Costs Could Hit $5M

The Los Angeles City Council's Public Safety Committee is expected to consider a report outlining the costs of the fall 2011 protest

Policing, cleanup and other costs related to Occupy LA could reach almost $5 million, nearly double the initial estimate, a Los Angeles City Councilman said Thursday.

A preliminary report pegged the cost at $2.6 million, but a new report expected to be released Friday has the total around $5 million, said Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, who chairs the public safety committee.

"At a very difficult time financially with the city, at a time we're talking about laying off civilian LAPD and fire personnel, this is going to have a dramatic effect on the city budget," Englander said. "For every action the city takes, there is a cost."

The news comes as the city faces a $200 million budget deficit.

Some 1,400 police officers swept demonstrators off the City Hall lawn after a two-month encampment protesting corporate practices and financial conditions in the United States. The bulk of the related costs were attributed to overtime for the Los Angeles Police Department and the Office of Public Safety, according to the report.

As many as 500 men, women and children were estimated to have camped out on the City Hall lawn, some in tents and other makeshift homes, city officials said. The 60-day encampment began in October and ended Nov. 30.

The costs associated with Occupy LA are on par with two other large city police actions, the 2010 Lakers Parade estimated at $1.8 million and the Michael Jackson funeral in 2009 at $3.2 million.

Clean-up costs were at least $45,000 as workers collected nearly 54 tons of refuse and more than eight tons of recyclables. The park was fenced off and shut down for months as workers repaired the damage.

As costs are being analyzed and a makeover plan is mulled, city officials are also considering cutting hours at the 1.7-acre park.

The City Hall park makeover would feature less grass and more drought-tolerant plants.

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