The recent Baltimore riots will cost the city at least a staggering $20 million - and all the estimates aren't in yet.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the $20 million figure includes expenses for police and firefighter overtime, damage to city-owned property and payment to other jurisdictions that assisted with policing duties.
Baltimore’s finance director, Henry J. Raymond, said that the city can cover the costs from its rainy day fund, but that it is only a temporary solution and that they are planning on requesting up to 75 percent reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The city remains on strong financial footing,” Raymond told the newspaper. “Hopefully with the FEMA reimbursement, it will reduce the financial stress that we’re under. In terms of the city’s overall revenue structure, we’re on firm footing and we’ll move forward.”
Both Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Maryland governor Larry Hogan have requested federal aid.
Hogan has even gone one step further, and asked President Obama for a disaster declaration so the city and the state can gain reimbursement for some expenses.
The $20 million estimate includes the purchasing of equipment, like riot gear and tear gas and for public works crews to clean neighborhood streets affected by the rioting. Not included is the cost to businesses that were damaged.
Raymond said that the estimate is based on numbers submitted by various city agencies but that the cost is expected to be much higher when lost future taxes and economic impact is factored in.
Hogan’s request for disaster declaration places the cost in damages even higher at $30.5 million, including the loss of conventions, tourism, leisure spending, and revenue from Orioles games that were closed to the public, cancelled, or moved to other cities.
The estimates are higher than an initial one was made after the riots, when it was believed that the cost would be $9 million.
Reuters reported at the time that the Small Business Administration calculated that $8,927,000 in damages affected 30 businesses from April 25 to May 3.
The city and state estimates place it much higher with 380 businesses affected during the unrest. Rawlings-Blake said at a press conference Tuesday that loans and grants would be available to help small businesses with the cost of repairs.
The city’s finance department will continue to monitor the financial impact with a final, updated figure expected in the coming weeks.