Thursday, October 25, 2007

Newark arena police costs--a benchmark for AY?

So, cops for an arena will cost taxpayers, right?

In a 10/21/07 article headlined Determined to show Newark at its safest, the Star-Ledger reported that, in policing the area around the new Prudential Center opening today, the city will deploy "more than 80 cops -- roughly five times the normal number" and expects to spend about $3 million this year on police overtime.

Now Downtown Newark has a much bigger crime problem than Downtown Brooklyn and Prospect Heights, and Newark might well dial back on police presence after a while. Still, the number suggests a rough benchmark regarding costs to police the planned Atlantic Yards arena.

IBO on AY

The New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO), in its September 2005 Fiscal Brief estimated annual overtime costs of $1.7 million for 45 Nets games.

Additional events at the arena would raise the cost, but the IBO didn't estimate that, given that "security needs and therefore the policing costs would vary widely depending on the types of events."

FCR's fudge

Remember, Forest City Ratner's paid consultant, sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, wrote in his rosy estimate of project revenues:
FCRC has made an initial estimate of the city’s operating expenses at Atlantic Yards. Based on conversations with former budget officials, FCRC concludes that the increment in fire and police budgets would be negligible.

As I noted, he didn't even put the statement in his own words--did he believe it? He shouldn't have.

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