Atherton, Calif., is seeking to bill two of its homeowners for security and cleanup costs after they hosted a fundraiser in April for President Barack Obama.
Though Obama raised $3 million in Atherton, the city has been unsuccessful in collecting payment from the Democratic National Committee or Secret Service for security, traffic control, roadblocks or cleanup. The city will bill its million-dollar residents, two of which hosted Obama, for $8,000 instead.
Atherton Councilman Bill Widmer said the hosts should be responsible for repaying fees — not the government.
“If we were to hold, say, a wedding here, and have to close off streets, we would expect the people that were hosting the wedding to pay it and I think the taxpayers would also ask for that,” Widmer said.
Town Manager George Rodericks agreed, noting that the city could process the payment as a property tax if homeowners do not oblige. Rodericks promised to pursue the payment, which he said rightfully belongs to the city.
In a town where the average cost of a home is $4 million, the small fine hardly seems significant.
However, Atherton is no stranger to hosting important political figures. In the past, President Georoge W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney have all fundraised there.
Claudia Keith, a Palo Alto city spokesperson, said her city expects and budgets for visitors. Visitor fees are included in the city’s annual budget.
“This is something we routinely plan for, and our local law enforcement budgets it as part of our normal operating procedures,” Keith said.