Buckhorn psyched for Tampa to collect $50 million for security for RNC. But does it need that much?

The question was posed to CL a few months ago by former Tampa Tribune editor Rosemary Goudreau in a story we did about the convention.

Actually, the $50 million request is a slight downgrade from the $55 million originally requested. But you don't need to be the protagonist from A Beautiful Mind to figure out that if the half the funds are used to pay feed, house and take care of every little thing for the 3,000 additional police officers to help with security at the Convention, in addition to the the 2,100 city and county law enforcement officers, that it certainly won't exhaust the $25 million earmarked for those needs (the other $25 million is for technology and equipment).

Mayor Buckhorn appears sensitive to this, telling Rick Danielson in Tuesday's Times that "We will go back and scrub our numbers, and we will live within our means."

The fact is, host cities before the 9/11 attacks never received so much money for security. In the summer of 2003, a year before they were to host the Democratic National Convention, Boston got a break when the federal government said they would help "defray skyrocketing security costs for the presidential nominating party."

Security costs were originally set for $10 million, but ultimately went up to $40 million, with the feds picking up the check.

There is no particular appropriate time for local host cities to receive such funding. According to the McClatchy News Service, Boston received the money a year before the event. Denver, which hosted in 2008, received the money in May, just three months before their convention.

Charlotte's Mayor, Anthony Foxx, expressed concerns earlier this year that with Congress in a deficit cutting mode, he was concerned that his city would receive the (originally) $55 requested.

But CL has not heard from one member of Congress that they intend to object to those funds, which are inserted in a massive continuing resolution that will pay the bills for the federal government for awhile.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn issued a short press release Tuesday afternoon, saying that he is "pleased" that Congress has scheduled a vote for later this week on approving the $50 million that the city hopes to have to prepare for its security needs in advance to next year's Republican National Convention.

The Mayor, who departs on a week long business trip to Israel tomorrow, gave a shout out to members of the local Congressional delegation that have lobbied to insure that Tampa gets those funds, saying, “I want to thank Florida’s entire congressional delegation for their hard work. Congresswoman Castor and Congressman Bilirakis played crucial roles in helping secure this funding, but I especially want to acknowledge Congressman Young, who has been vital throughout this process. I am looking forward to a vote later this week.”

Charlotte, North Carolina, the home of the 2012 Democratic National Committee, is also expecting $50 million for security. Those funds are also included in the continuing resolution that comes up for a vote scheduled for later this week.

But a question that nobody is asking about is this: Does Tampa need $50 million for security?

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