Stationing firefighters and medics 24 hours a day at Trump Tower costs New York City taxpayers $4.5 million a year — none of which has been reimbursed to the FDNY, agency officials said Thursday at the City Council.
A pair of firefighters constantly monitors the alarm panel of President Donald Trump’s namesake building and investigates alerts, said FDNY chief of department James E. Leonard. The medics are outside “just in case something happens with the family,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens), who oversaw a council hearing Thursday morning to examine the FDNY’s proposed approximately $2 billion budget.
“There is an EMS unit there 24 hours a day,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, using the abbreviation for the city’s emergency medical service, part of the fire department.
Those assignments had cost the FDNY $1.7 million between Election and Inauguration days, said Stephen Rush, the FDNY’s assistant commissioner of budget and finance. He said the $4.5 million figure excludes the cost of the 13 or so additional FDNY personnel who are put on a special detail to protect the president when he’s in town. He has been out of Manhattan since the Jan. 20 inauguration.
For weeks, New York City officials and the local congressional delegation have been lobbying the federal government to reimburse the city for costs of FDNY personnel and NYPD police officers who are assigned to Trump duty.
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of more than a dozen New York members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, urging that the $25.7 million to reimburse the FDNY and NYPD.
In December, the GOP-led Congress greenlighted only $7 million, none of which yet went to the FDNY, department officials said after Thursday’s council hearing.
The Tower is protected around the clock by NYPD officers and FDNY personnel, in additional to federal agencies, even when Trump isn’t there, because the building is a potential target and some members of Trump’s immediate family, including first lady Melania Trump, live there, Leonard said.
Crowley said that the firefighter and medic assignments to Trump Tower “seems excessive.”
The Trump team’s refusal to commit to paying for New York City’s higher municipal costs associated with the president became the subject of Twitter jockeying in December, when a suspicious package that turned out to be a false alarm triggered the Midtown Manhattan tower’s evacuation.
“Thanks NYPD,” Spicer tweeted.
Eric Phillips, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chief spokesman responded: “No problem. We’ll send you the bill.”