Pence visit costs Billings $35K with no reimbursement in sight

Billings likely will end up covering the costs for Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the city Wednesday. 

The visit cost the city roughly $35,000, the majority of that coming from police overtime and other operational costs, which totaled about $27,000.

Chris Kukulski, Billings city administrator, isn’t anticipating getting any of it back from the Pence camp. 

Billings police direct traffic in the intersection of First Avenue North and North 27th Street during the visit from Vice President Mike Pence in Billings on Wednesday.

BETHANY BAKER, Billings Gazette

“I don’t want to complain about it,” Kukulski said. “It’s a reality.”

It’s something of a kabuki dance between dignitaries and the municipalities they visit. The cities request reimbursement for the security costs of hosting an event, and the campaign or the office of the visiting official either declines to pay or simply doesn’t respond. 

The issues Pence addressed while in Billings — meth and opioid addiction and how best to fight it — deserve attention, Kukulski said. And the attention a sitting vice president brings is substantial, he said. 

Mike Pence visits

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