Cost estimates released Friday by the Department of Administration put the cost of extra security and damage done to the Capitol during protests over the Governor’s collective bargaining bill at around $8.1 million. Those figures include expenses of about $7.8 million for the added police presence, along with repairing about $270,000 in damage done to the building by protesters.
Law enforcement officers from 202 state and local agencies have submitted invoices to the state asking for reimbursement of personnel, travel, lodging, food, and equipments costs. Huebsch says figures could still increase as more invoices come in.
Damage estimates come from a survey of the building carried out by an architect involved in the Capitol restoration during the 1990s. The figure includes repairing chipped stonework, cleaning dirt and tape residue left on marble surfaces, and repairing sections of the lawn damage by heavy foot traffic from protesters.
Huebsch noted that the building experienced about three to five years worth of wear in the space of just a couple of weeks. He says it’s a significant repair bill, but none of the damage appeared to have been malicious.
The estimate is much lower than a $7 million figure the state gave in court during a lawsuit from groups challenging restricted access to the Capitol. Huebsch says that figure was based on the best information officials had available at the time, and he does not feel it was a mistake for it to be offered in court.
The state does not intend to make any of the needed repairs right away. There are concerns that protesters could still return to the building due to the legal battle over the collective bargaining bill and the ongoing debate over the state budget.