Occupy Wall Street carries with it varying price tag on local go - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Occupy Wall Street carries with it varying price tag on local governments


The people making up Occupy Iowa City in College Green Park aren't showing any signs of leaving any time soon.

By all accounts, they're making their message heard without burdening the taxpayer.

The community has all the necessities and then some, including food, shelter, and soon, even its own wireless Internet.

"Everything is a gift.  We maintain everything ourselves," said Jason Burkhardt, a demonstrator with Occupy Iowa City.

The evolving community picks up after itself and recycles.

It now has its own portable restroom.

It also has its own set of rules that it sets forth during a nightly general assembly.

"It's very important that we don't have to utilize too many outside forces that have already been established by the society which we're protesting," Burkhardt said.

City officials say, so far, the protests aren't costing Iowa City taxpayers a dime.

The protesters have been peaceful and respectful of the surrounding area.

As a result, the city has not had to step up enforcement in the area nor use extra resources to maintain the park.

"It's been pretty mild and I don't think has caused any disruption to the city at this point, just a lot of notoriety," said Iowa City city manager Tom Markus.

The protests have caused disruption in bigger cities.  While extra costs are minimal in Des Moines, patrolmen arrested more than 30 protesters on state property when they didn't have a permit over the past weekend.  They have that permit now.

In New York City, two million taxpayer dollars are being spent to police the protests in spite of impending budget cuts.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, (R) Iowa, says the costs will be limited if the protests are done in the spirit of the constitution.

"Every group that is making a political point ought to respect the laws of the United States, respect other people's rights, and respect private property, and if that's done, it doesn't seem to me we'd have a lot of costs for a local government," Grassley said.


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