Removing Confederate monument from Travis Park cost more than $250K

Among the transport, security, and replanting costs, removing the Confederate statue from Travis Park cost San Antonio $258,680.

The numbers are in: $258,680 of your taxpayer dollars were used to remove the Confederate monument in Travis Park.

That total doesn't sit well with certain city councilmembers. Some say that they were misled before voting to remove the statue last month.

A memo sent to city officials on Monday tallies up all the expenses associated with the removal of the Confederate statue.

It shows a $147,775 cost for a third-party company to remove and transport the monument, a $103,809 charge for SAPD staffing including officer overtime, fencing, barricades, and surveillance cameras. Finally, it includes a $7,096 charge for replanting costs.

A couple of councilmembers say that they didn’t anticipate the added security costs, which nearly equal the cost to move two cannons and a Confederate monument from Travis Park.

"It was a direct result of the police staffing and the way this entire removal was handled that we did not have events like you've seen in other parts of the country," said Jeff Coyle, director of government and public affairs for the City of San Antonio.

Coyle says that councilmembers approved $150,000 for a third-party company to remove the statue.

"It actually came in under budget at $147,000 and some change," Coyle noted.

He says that police staffing necessary for the removal didn't go to council this time because it's already part of SAPD's annual budget.

"There are any number of events during the course of the year in which extra police protection is necessary," Coyle explained. "In this case, it was the removal of the statue."

District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse feels that he was misled by the grand total of the removal costs, and he wants the city to remain transparent to taxpayers.

"The things that bothered me is we should have known these costs up front," Councilman Brockhouse said.

He added that he personally asked the director of the city department responsible for the monument's removal what the bill would be, and he says the reply was "$150,000."

"I was very clear that $150,000, in itself, is a lot of money. But to go over another $100,000 makes absolutely no sense to me," Councilman Brockhouse said. "There was no way this item was budgeted for, there was no way this item was put in there. We've already incurred $17 million in police officer overtime. So this was an overtime situation that was generated as a result of the statue. There was no way it was budgeted or a part of the chief's budget."

District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry, the only councilmember to vote against removing the statue, says that he stands by his vote.

In a statement, Councilman Perry said:

Although the cost of the physical removal of the Confederate monument from Travis Park was under budget, I was disappointed to learn there were additional staffing costs that were not addressed before council. This further justifies my point that a full process needs to be in place in order to fully understand all aspects of proposals that are given to us. I see this as valuable learning lesson for me to fully understand and ask the right questions for issues in the future.

Councilman Cruz Shaw, who submitted the ordinance for the removal and relocation of the statue with Councilman Robert Trevino, said in a statement:

To properly preserve the Confederate monument, the proper care had to be taken to ensure the safe transporting. Our officers were there to ensure this happened safely and without trouble.

For now, the statue sits in storage.

It could soon be relocated to a museum. City officials, however, say its fate isn't set in stone. Planning for its new home will begin soon.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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