WESTPORT, Conn. – Roughly 50 people had the privilege of meeting President Barack Obama in Westport Monday night, but all Westport taxpayers helped foot the bill for his visit. Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff reported Tuesday the town spent almost $15,000 in overtime costs for police and fire during the visit.
“While we welcome the president visiting us, incurring unbudgeted costs are not welcome,” Joseloff said in a new release. “Westport may be more affluent than some other towns, but we watch over our taxpayer dollars very carefully.”
Obama appeared at the Beachside Avenue home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein for a $35,800 per person dinner fundraiser. About 50 people reportedly attended, including actresses Anne Hathaway and Joanne Woodward of Westport, the widow of actor Paul Newman.
Joseloff said Police Chief Dale Call informed him that the police department incurred $12,460 in overtime costs for the visit. This does not include overtime costs incurred by departments assisting Westport, which included Wilton, Trumbull, Easton, Monroe, and Fairfield as well as the State Police.
Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury reported his department incurred $2,352 in overtime costs, Joseloff said. Fire units were on standby at Sherwood Island State Park, which was closed to the public Monday in order to be used as the landing and departure area for the presidential helicopters. The department also provided tactical support for the visit, Joseloff said.
Joseloff said he will seek reimbursement from the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. He said he will also send a copy of the request to Weinstein.
“I’m not optimistic we will be successful, but I need to make the effort,” Joseloff said. The town made previous attempts to recover similar costs without success when former President Bill Clinton visited Westport three times in 1998-99 for fundraising events.