Philly ‘Burbs: We Want Some of That Pope Money, Too!

Suburban officials are irked that the city is getting reimbursed for the pope's visit, but their towns aren't.

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

Mayor Michael Nutter negotiated a deal with the World Meeting of Families for the city government to be reimbursed $12 million for the projected cost of the papal visit. The deal is so good, apparently, that the suburbs are jealous. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Officials said costs for emergency operations and police overtime could total hundreds of thousands of dollars in Lower Merion Township, where the pope will stay, and in townships where thousands of visitors will board SEPTA trains to Center City.

“For the last five months, we were asked to be regional partners,” said Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie. “You’re a regional partner up to the point where [Nutter] sits at the table and negotiates $12 million for the city.”

After hearing this week about the city’s contract with the World Meeting of Families, which is putting on the papal events, Micozzie sent a letter to the organization asking whether Upper Darby also could be reimbursed for its expenses — which he estimates could be as much as $250,000.

Micozzie said he has not heard back yet from the World Meeting of Families.

Nutter is known for cutting taxpayer-friendly deals with event organizers. Live Nation paid the city $505,000 in 2012 for police overtime, sanitation costs and other government services during the Made in America festival, according to KYW. That’s quite different than what happened in Los Angeles during Made in America: The concert in 2014 “set city taxpayers back nearly $170,000” in 2014, L.A. Weekly reported.