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City Council looks to prevent 2020 campaign debt

Eau Claire (WQOW) – City council officials say there’s a strong change that the city will never receive the $50,000 owed after the 2016 presidential campaigns came through the area.

As the 2020 campaigns are underway with politicians likely set to appear in the Chippewa Valley in the next few months, the council is working to make sure those debts do not happen again.

City council members Andrew Werthmann and Kate Beaton announced a plan on Wednesday that will make sure campaign costs are reimbursed to the city.

Specifically, the costs associated with law enforcement security during campaign events.

“We’re looking at ways that we can potentially work with, whether it’s private or public partners, to say ‘Okay, you expect 2,000 folks to show up for an event, how do we make sure that ahead of time we’re working out what the fee is for that and how many officers are going to be on the scene,” Werthmann said.

The two council members said they’re currently working with the ECPD police chief to develop a policy for the costs.

Werthmann said that the chief is planning to reach out to communities across the country to gather information on how other cities ensure campaign repayment.

“One of the things that we’re looking at possibly doing is similar to our special events permitting, where if you know over 500 people are going to be at a specific event, you have to actually apply through the city to hold that event,” Werthmann said.

The two added that one of their biggest challenges in developing the next policy, is making sure it doesn’t infringe on people’s rights to assemble, and that they want to make sure every politician that wants to campaign, and every person that wants to attend, is able to.

That final policy is said to be completed within the next two months.

McKenna Alexander

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