LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The taxpayers’ tab for Occupy L.A. has reached an estimated $2.3 million, and officials say there’s more to come. The new figures have sparked a debate at City Hall about who’s to blame for the costs, and whether it was really necessary to spend all that money.

A report by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana says more than half the estimated costs were a result of police overtime. “Of the total cost, about $1.2 [million] is for L.A. police overtime,” says Santana.

The report comes at a time when the City of Los Angeles already faces a $72 million budget deficit.

City Councilman Dennis Zine says the millions in Occupy costs likely mean even more budget cutbacks.

“We already had the $70 million, and this adds on to that” says Zine. “So what you’re going to find is either more furloughs for city employees, fewer services for city employees. It impacts every tax payer, every business in the City of Los Angeles.”

Occupy L.A. activist Carlos Marroquin claims city officials are inflating the numbers and using protesters as a scapegoat for L.A.’s budget issues.

“Part of the numbers in the budget, they’re supposed to include events like this, emergencies” says Marroquin. “So it is irresponsible for them to try to blame the occupiers, Occupy L.A. for their shortfalls.”

Marroquin points out that many city officials rolled out the welcome mat for Occupy L.A. early on. “We were welcomed by the city council,” says Marroquin. “They passed a resolution for us to be here.”

Councilman Zine says that was a mistake. He insists the protesters should not have been allowed to violate city laws by camping out overnight. “When you give the welcome mat and say ‘stay as long as you wish, enjoy yourself,’ it sends the wrong message,” says Zine. “And now we’re paying the bill for that message.”

City Hall park remains closed nearly one month after the LAPD cleared out the Occupy L.A. encampment, which had lasted two months. The park will be closed indefinitely, as it is projected to take some time to restore the park to its condition prior to the demonstration.

Remaining repairs and cleanup include restoring landscaping, repairing the irrigation system, and removing graffiti. Costs for the restoration are estimated at $400,000, bringing the total taxpayer bill for Occupy L.A. into the $3 million neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the Occupy L.A. movement marches on. Organizers have reached an agreement with the Tournament of Roses to march at the end of the 2012 parade in Pasadena.

Comments (21)
  1. GROWAPAIR says:

    wg//af was never about free speech. wg//af failed to even come up with an actual platform. wg//af was claiming to represent the occupy mob but who knows. It was mostly who could talk the loudest.
    There are lots of venues where wg//af could have exercised his free speech rights and actually accomplished something. All the wg//af did was waste everyone’s time and tax dollar. Shame on the politicians in LA for not censoring him in a timely manner. wg//af wants to protest? Fine, fill out the paperwork for your permit; hold your demonstration and then go home

  2. John says:

    Newsflash, jerk, emergencies don’t generally include the damage from two months of entrenched encampments. They should have every one of these people that they arrested out there on a chain gang helping to clean up the mess as a way to reduce some of the costs.

  3. Walter says:

    The Tea Party cost taxpayers ZERO! The bill for the Occupy LA cleanup should be sent to SEIU Local 721 at 500 south Verily Ave, Los Angeles. As for the lawn, Mario Brito promised to redo the lawn so he should be held to his word.

    1. ginny says:

      Dead on Walter. The Tea Party also paid for all of the required permits, paid for the cost of the police onsite, brought in their own facilities, paid for clean-up and didn’t hang around for 2 months creating a shantytown, blocking streets and disrupting peoples lives and livelyhoods.

      It’s also interesting that in Chicago, home of our exhalted President they only allowed the Occupy group to march during certain hours of the day and no camping overnight. Their Mayor also being Obama’s best buddy.

      1. njt says:

        so what you’re saying is the tea party represents the “haves” whereas the occupiers represent the “have nots”. as long as they agree to hate each other while agreeing on just about everything else, things won’t change.

      2. john says:

        naw njt. it’s a matter of taking responsibility, unless you are saying the “have nots” have a perfect right to be irresponsible

  4. USA under God says:

    What the heck are they doing with these people? Most of these are street people in there for the free ride. The only way to take this country back is through the tea party and all of us backing them. All this kind of crazy stuff has to stop. Can America ever get back to it’s real values?

  5. john says:

    why it’s the fault of every citizen who didn’t donate half their income to the “out of work students”, don’t you know?

    1. njt says:

      IMO it’s the fault of the officials who told the occupiers to leave their stuff behind, then paid some 3rd party to remove said stuff

      1. john says:

        so go sue the democrats who run this city, please.

    2. Esrat says:

      Im no eerxpt, but I suppose you just crafted an excellent point. You naturally know what youre talking about, and I can really get behind that. Thanks for staying so upfront and so straightforward.

  6. Gordo says:

    The city council created the problem by allowing these people to squat on public land for so long. The occupiers should have been removed immediately. Free speech doesn’t mean squatting on and destruction of public property. But the sanctuary city mayor knew that at the start.

  7. Red Banks says:

    So this socalled spokesperson Carlos Marroquin, is that a full time job??? What does it pay? Who pays you??

    1. Carrie says:

      cmc033098 on September 19, 2011 Giving away this lpaotp because i just got a macbook pro so theres no need for me to have it all you have to do is comment saying GATEWAY FAVORITE LIKE SUBSCRIBE THANKS FOR WATCHING! Category Film & Animation

  8. Red Banks says:

    City Councilman Eric Garcetti told the occu poo they could stay as long as they wished in early October! Send him the bill, he will be running for Mayor soon!!!!

  9. Haywire says:

    I know where we can get the extra money we need to completely clean up city hall and the surrounding areas.

    I believe that we should reduce all city council members pay to minimum wage.

    When there is a problem with the budget the people who should get a pay cut first should be administration. Who else is there to blame for the city’s money problem. they are elected to take care of all our need.if they fail at their jobs then they should be punished. Put the blame where it belongs, The Mayor and the city council.

    Stop blaming people who are calling them out for the b.s peddlers that are in office.


  10. rankin1 says:

    Ronald Reagan would have never allowed these degenrates to destroy property, the libereal gay politicians who run the state will not have to take a pay cut.

  11. Azat says:

    Thanks! For these easy steps. I did it and I see the reply bttouns under each comment. I have one problem and don't know if there is a solution. When I reply to a comment it takes me to another screen with all the comments on it. And if I want to continue replying i have to go back to original screen and so on. Is there any way to reply underneath each comment in one page like in disqus. Like if you are chatting???Thanks 

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