FERGUSON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – During the 10 days of unrest in Ferguson, some police officers, business owners and taxpayers all wondered aloud, “how much is this going to cost?” Six weeks later, St. Louis County officials have penciled a $4.2 million price tag.
According to Garry Earls, Chief Operating Officer of St. Louis County, $2.6 million will go to police overtime; $1 million will go to those who live in Ferguson; $170,000 is for damage to cop cars caused by rioters and $146,000 will pay for food and supplies for first responders.
Now Earls must figure out how to pay for the response to the crisis in Ferguson.
“We’ll have to find a way to replace these dollars either by reimbursements from the state and federal government or by reducing services in the future from some of the things we already do,” Earls said.
The COO said this money will come from a segmented portion of the county’s general operating fund known as the emergency fund. He also said this year’s budget will not feel the pinch, but the county will see the impact in the future.
“Services will continue at the foreseeable future,” Earls said. “We don’t expect to reduce our services, but, in fact, expenses like this do have to come from somewhere so we’ll have to do something to balance our books and keep services in general within our budget.”
While $4.2 million is the what the county has figured out so far, officials with the state of Missouri are calculating how much it will cost the state.
Earls said he is hopeful those in Gov. Jay Nixon’s office will help St. Louis County with the bills. The governor’s spokespeople said that is unlikely. That’s because the state and federal government only pays a large amount when there is a natural disaster, such as a tornado or flood. The state classifies what happened in Ferguson as “civil unrest.”