Cleveland Works on Plan to Bill Visiting Sports Teams

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The City of Cleveland is working on a plan to bill professional sports teams for police protection required while visiting northeast Ohio.

For years, Cleveland taxpayers have been footing the estimated $40,000 a year cost.

“You always learn something new,” said Cleveland Public Safety Director Marty Flask, “and in our conversations with the NFL, we came to the realization that most cities do charge, why aren’t we?”

According to Flask, Cleveland City Council must approve the proposal that would enable the city to charge for the additional expense.

Other cities, like Cincinnati, have been charging pro teams for years.

They currently charge $31 an hour for each officer and $5 an hour for each vehicle.

Cincinnati adds the fee to the team hotel bill, which is then paid by the club.

Cleveland plans to individually bill the teams.

“A two-hour escort with two officers on overtime would be about $300,” said Flask. “Again, it’s not a large amount of money but it’s money our taxpayers are paying for the visiting sports team and we think our taxpayers deserve to be reimbursed for those expenses.”

“We want Cleveland to be a desirable place, but we shouldn’t leave money on the table if other cities are doing it,” said Howard Edelstein, a longtime fan of the Cleveland Indians.

The plan is expected to pass once presented to Cleveland City Council next Monday. That is the last regularly scheduled meeting for 2011.

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