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October 25, 2007

Newark arena police costs--a benchmark for AY?

Atlantic Yards Report

Last week, we explained that Ratner has no incentive to redesign the Atlantic Yards project to conform to an era of increased security measures, when a plan could be implemented after the fact at the taxpayers' expense.

This week, Norman Oder explores the issue, finding clues in the Newark arena overtime costs and the Independent Budget Office projections:

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.

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."

Naturally, Bruce Ratner's initial economic analysis, compiled by Andrew Zimbalist, "concludes that the increment in fire and police budgets would be negligible."

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NoLandGrab: If there is no reason to increase fire department services in the area, then who will be around to put out Forest City Ratner's pants, which appear to be on fire?

Posted by lumi at October 25, 2007 10:07 AM