MIDTOWN — Two city officials have launched a petition calling for President-elect Donald Trump to guarantee that New York City will be reimbursed for the money it is spending to secure Trump's residence and his family.
“His refusal to base transition operations out of the nation’s capital has placed an unprecedented financial and logistical strain on our city and its first responders, and it is simply unsustainable," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito who launched the petition with Councilman Dan Garodnick, who represents the area around Trump Tower.
"I commend the NYPD for their professionalism, but it is time for a guarantee from the President-elect that their work is not being performed at the expense of city safety elsewhere and in the future," Mark-Viverito added.
Trump has spent most of his time since being elected president at his penthouse residence on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets. Working with the Secret Service, the NYPD has had to develop a short-term security plan for the busy area which includes closing streets, creating a bag checkpoint and implementing truck restrictions. Two lanes of Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower remain closed.
More than 100 officers have been deployed in the area, including members of the elite heavily armed terrorism response team, 50 traffic officers and police officers on the rooftops of nearby buildings and around the perimeter of Trump Tower.
The cost of all the additional security, which will stay in place until the transition is complete, is said to be around $1 million per day.
NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the department is still working on a long-term security plan for Trump Tower. Trump administration officials have said he is likely to be in the city regularly, especially on the weekends. Trump's wife and son are likely to stay in the city through at least the end of the school year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he has had conversations with Homeland Security and Trump administration officials about reimbursement and is optimistic that the federal government will cover the costs.
Garodnick, in an interview, said the petition on Change.org is designed to place extra pressure on Trump and the federal government.
"The costs of providing presidential security are enormous and New York should not get stuck paying the tab," said Garodnick. 'We appreciate that the mayor is working to secure compensation but the President-elect should remove all suspense and make it clear from his perspective that this should not be the responsibility of New York City taxpayers,"
The petition calls on Trump's status as a lifelong New Yorker.
"Let’s end the suspense: We ask you to commit the necessary federal funds to reimburse New York for all costs of protecting you and your family — both before and after your inauguration as President of the United States of America," the petition reads.
"As a lifelong New Yorker, you understand the importance of a vibrant local economy, and one that has the resources to operate. Make it clear today that New York City is not going to get stuck with the bill," it continues.
New Yorkers who signed the petition said the city shouldn't have to shoulder the bill alone.
"The people should not pay to protect a second private home. The money can be used to fund education, housing, infrastructure, law enforcement, and any number of essential issues the city must deal with from day to day. This is a completely unnecessary additional burden," wrote Alejandro Bruzzese of Flushing.
Garodnick said the petition, signed by 259 supporters by early afternoon, provides an opportunity for Trump to hear "directly from New Yorkers about their concerns," and to also consider "that somebody is paying for their security" when they are in the city.
"It is important that the President-elect understand that when he comes to town it impacts everybody — and not in a good way," said Garodnick.