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Economic impacts 

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Removing New Orleans' Confederate monuments cost $2M-plus in public, private money

By JEFF ADELSON | jadelson@theadvocate.comJun 9, 2017 - 7:15 pm

It cost a total of $2.1 million — half of it public money — to take down four Jim Crow-era monuments in New Orleans, according to records the city released Friday.

About half of the money was spent on the removals themselves and the rest on security and support services that included paying a private security contractor more than $710,000 to monitor and infiltrate various protest groups.

The records also indicate the contractor who took down three of the four statues found itself out by about $217,000 after the city refused to increase the $600,000 contract to account for additional time spent on the jobs, each of which stretched on several hours.

The city cut the $90,000 cost of removing the Battle of Liberty Place monument — the first to be taken down — by more than 25 percent during negotiations with another contractor after the obelisk had been removed.

The city announced the cost of the monument removals, which played out from late April through May amid protests, threats and national media attention, on Friday in response to public records requests from media including The New Orleans Advocate.

The public costs of the removal will largely be absorbed by the budgets of the various city departments involved and should not have a major impact, Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni said.

The costs for the private security contractor will be covered by reducing various consulting contracts the city has, including those for analyzing the pension systems for firefighters and jail employees, the city budget and general economic analysis.

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