Tiny South Carolina town officials at odds over eating $40K in costs after Trump visit

Tiny South Carolina town officials at odds over eating K in costs after Trump visit

A Donald Trump rally in the tiny town of Pickens, South Carolina, on July 1 left the community with $40,000 in expenses which community leaders are debating absorbing, reports WSPA/Fox8.

The former president is headed to Erie, Pennsylvania, this Saturday still owing $35,000 for expenses incurred when the city hosted his Oct. 10, 2018, Make America Great Again rally at Erie Insurance Arena. City officials are still trying to have him settle that tab before he shows up for a new rally.

As for Pickens, local officials are pleased that the former president visited their small town with a population of under 4,000 and drew a crowd estimated to be over 50,000, although the former president claimed 75,000 showed up which was, in turn, disputed by the Secret Service.

That massive turnout caused the city to shell out about $30,000 to first responders who worked the event as well as an additional $10,000 for setup costs.

According to the WSPA report, “While many said they wonder why Trump’s campaign didn’t pay those costs, the county said it would have been foolish to send the campaign a bill.”

Local rally organizer Barry Crawford explained, “The numbers getting tossed around, that they left the city of Pickens owing money is absolutely not true. We had a very successful event that day outside of the heat. No one went to jail, it was a peaceful event and we were glad to have Mr. Trump in Pickens.”

According to the report, the out-of-the-ordinary expense might be paid by County Council members “at no cost to taxpayers using their accommodations tax (ATAX) money. The ATAX is the extra sales tax motels and hotels pay for short-term overnight guests. The county government collects about $250,000 in ATAX money a year.”

Vice Chairman of Pickens County Council Roy Costner explained, “That is what the accommodations tax is for. When you have a big event, it really should be that money used for bringing all these people into the area. There were a lot of people from all over. Those weren’t all people from Pickens.”

In an interview with WYFF, councilwoman Claiborne Linvill balked at the expense and claimed it sets a bad precedent as the country heads into another presidential election.

“Using ATAX funding to cover the $30,000 expense to the county may make sense, but I do not think the council should agree to do so until we have invoiced the Trump campaign first. They should pay for the impact that a large political rally in support of one candidate had on our entire county,” she explained.

WYFF reports, “The Ccty (sic) of Pickens posted on social media in regard to the situation. It said the city administrator and the finance director are working on putting the event’s invoices together and they will be submitted to the Trump campaign when they are read.,” adding the council will vote on the matter in August.

Trump has a long history of stiffing local communities following his Make America Great rallies, with Raw Story reporting in April on how officials in Waco, Texas forced the former president to pay up, with a similar situation the next month in Des Moines, Iowa and the ongoing battle authorities in Manchester, New Hampshire who have been fighting to get payment for police overtime.

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