Baltimore city officials are expected Wednesday to approve a request to spend $20 million of taxpayer dollars to help cover the costs of recent race protests, namely those affiliated with overtime pay for emergency responders.
The $20 million is also going to be tapped to pay for property damages to city structures – but not for the dozens of businesses that were looted and destroyed in the violent street rallies, the blog the Conservative Tree House reported.
Baltimore finance director Henry Raymond said the city will use rainy day funds to cover the repairs and overtime expenses, but will then bill the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a reimbursement of up to 75 percent.
“The city remains on strong financial footing,” he said, the Baltimore Sun first reported. “Hopefully, with the FEMA reimbursement, it will reduce the financial stress that we’re under. In terms of the city’s overall revenue structure, we’re on firm footing and we’ll move forward.”
The request for FEMA aid came from both Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Hogan petitioned President Obama to label the city a disaster zone in order to open the doors to state-level funding while Rawlings-Blake suggested businesses that were damaged by protesters seek aid from the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Baltimore Development Corp.
Rawlings-Blake previously came under fire for commenting how the city’s response to the violent street protests involved setting aside certain areas of the community for the rallies, and calling on police to stand down – remarks she later denied.