Confederate monument removal costs piling up for cities

As cities across the country continue to debate and, in some cases, remove Confederate monuments from their municipalities, the costs are piling up for taxpayers.

In San Antonio, which removed its lone confederate monument last month from Travis Park, city officials found out Monday in a memo it cost $258,680 to take down that statue.

The memo, obtained by Fox San Antonio, showed it cost $147,775 for a third-party company to remove and transport the monument, $103,809 for police staffing, including officer overtime, fencing, barricades, and surveillance cameras. There was an additional charge of about $7,000 to cover replanting costs.

City officials told the television station that city council members originally approved $150,000 for the company to remove the statue, and that police staffing was already part of the department's annual budget.

Some city council members, however, felt they were misled by the final total of removal costs.

"Being told directly to my face by a city director that this was $150,000 and no more, then to see this -- I think that deserves further research,” Councilman Greg Brockhouse said.

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Brockhouse said in a separate interview with KENS-TV it made "absolutely no sense" to go over the original amount.

"There was no way this item was budgeted for, there was no way this item was put in there," he said. "We've already incurred $17 million in police officer overtime. So this was an overtime situation that was generated as a result of the statue. There was no way it was budgeted or a part of the chief's budget."

In Dallas, which recently removed a statue of Robert E. Lee for around $450,000 according to CBS 11, the city may spend more money to remove another Confederate monument and change street names.

The Dallas Confederate Task Force Committee recommended last month at its final meeting the removal of the Confederate monument at Pioneer Park in downtown Dallas next to the convention center.

The monument in park cemetery was built in 1896, and has a Confederate soldier atop a six-story tower surrounded by four Confederate leaders. Moving it will cost an estimated $800,000, FOX 4 News reported.

After a heated discussion, the task force also settled on five street names associated with Confederate figures to recommend changing.

“Get something worthwhile doing rather than changing the name of the streets,” task force member Barvo Walker said. “It costs a lot of money for the city and for the citizens. Get a life.”

Some task force members think erasing the "painful" memories is worth the cost.

“If it were Hitler's name, I think there would be no amount of money that would be too much to change that name,” Sara Mokuria said. “And for some folks, these names have that same significance.”

The decisions made by the group were only recommendations that will first go to the Cultural Affairs Committee and then the city council, who will ultimately decide what actually happens, according to FOX 4.

The removal of the Lee monument incurred an additional cost, after a crane hired to remove the statue collided with a semitrailer near downtown Dallas, killing the semitrailer's driver and badly damaging the crane.