Palm Beach County taxpayers will get a $1 million reimbursement from the federal government for helping the Secret Service protect Donald Trump when he stayed in Palm Beach as president-elect.
Now the county is waiting to hear on a separate application for about $3.5 million in federal reimbursements for costs racked up by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments between February and April when Trump made seven trips to Palm Beach as president.
The approval of the $1 million for pre-inaugural expenses comes as a welcome relief to county officials who sounded frustrated in March when they pressed the federal government on recouping costs incurred during Trump’s visits to his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner was pessimistic enough at the time to float the idea of imposing a special county tax on Mar-a-Lago to defray security costs. Now Kerner says he’s not actively pursuing that idea.
“I was concerned that we would not be indemnified and I’m more comfortable now that we will at least on a partial basis be reimbursed,” Kerner said Tuesday. “I’ve been pleased with the response from Washington, and our federal legislative delegation has been incredible to work with.”
The money for the pre-inaugural security costs was approved by the U.S. Department of Justice last month and announced Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, whose district includes Mar-a-Lago. Frankel and Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick have scheduled a Wednesday news conference to discuss the federal grant.
After winning the 2016 election and before he was sworn in as president, Trump spent about 21 days at Mar-a-Lago, including Thanksgiving and Christmas last year.
According to a breakdown provided by Frankel’s office, the $1 million federal reimbursement includes $964,982 for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, $24,343 for Town of Palm Beach Police Department, $11,355 for the West Palm Beach Police Department and $2,683 for the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department.
Another $24,562 will go to law enforcement agencies in Orange County, where Trump held a rally as president-elect last December.
An April congressional budget deal set aside $20 million for “extraordinary law enforcement and related costs” incurred by local governments to protect Trump from Nov. 9 through his inauguration on Jan. 20. Earlier legislation included $7 million for pre-inauguration reimbursements.
The county said in July that it spent $1.5 million on overtime for sheriff’s deputies and fire rescue personnel while Trump was at Mar-a-Lago as president-elect.
As president, Trump logged about 17½ days in Palm Beach County during his seven visits between February and April.
The county’s application for the $3.5 million in post-inauguration reimbursements would come from a $41 million pot of money that Congress approved for local law enforcement agencies who helped protect the president when he visits his residences at Mar-a-Lago, Bedminster, N.J., and New York City.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said in July that it had incurred about $4.5 million in overtime during Trump’s presidential visits.