In the last presidential election cycle, Green Bay provided about $60,000 in services for campaign visits. And now, several years later less than half has been paid.
“For us, that is fabulous,” says Celestine Jeffreys, chief of staff for Green Bay. “That is more than we’ve ever collected.”
There are two outstanding debts from 2016:
Hillary Clinton owes $11,000 for her visit in March. And President Donald Trump owes $9,000 for his visit in August of that year.
Bernie Sanders also owes the city money, with most of the debt largely coming from staffing.
“Anywhere from a dozen police officers, to three dozen, four dozen police officers for this kind of endeavor,” she said. “That’s where those bills come from.”
Having the national spotlight has its perks. There’s always the hope that maybe new businesses will be turned onto the area.
“Sure, it can have great economic benefit for us down the line,” said Jeffreys. “But not directly and not to offset those costs.”
It’s a national problem. Some cities in Arizona, Washington, and Texas are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Green Bay is determined not to follow in their footsteps.
“It means we send invoices,” she said. “‘You need to pay us. Please pay us. We were really happy to have you here and we really need to have our police costs covered by your campaign.'”
For the remaining $30,000 that Green Bay is owed from various campaign visits, it largely comes out of the police department’s budget.
“I think the campaigns which raised a lot of money, I think it would be appropriate for them to set aside funds in order to pay at least part of the services to municipalities,” said Jeffreys.
She’s personally heard from cities as far away as El Paso, Texas, inquiring about how much of a debt politicians have left Green Bay in.
Currently, the city has a policy that it does not charge the sitting president for visits during his term.