Mayor Nutter had good news for Philadelphia taxpayers this week when he announced that the city would be reimbursed for the estimated $12 million cost of hosting Pope Francis.
Suburban taxpayers might not be as fortunate.
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.
The township will be affected by road closings, and a Regional Rail station, Primos, and the 69th Street Transportation Center will be in use during the weekend.
Micozzie said he had not received a response.
Costs could be even greater in Lower Merion, where Francis is staying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
No estimate has been totaled for the township, spokesman Thomas Walsh said, but police overtime alone will likely cost more than $115,000.
Walsh said Lower Merion is honored to host the pope, but officials have notified the World Meeting that they will send an invoice after Francis leaves.
"It's much different than, say, a presidential visit, when he's in and out of here in a number of hours," Walsh said. "This is a little unprecedented. So it's difficult to figure out where to recoup the money, but there will be a very good effort to do so."
Several municipalities in the Philadelphia region have declared local states of emergency for the weekend. That designation allows them to make emergency purchases without going through the bidding process, said Ruth Miller, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. But a declaration of emergency does not come with government aid.
Montgomery County will seek reimbursement for expenses, if possible, according to spokesman Frank Custer. But Custer said the county has not identified any funding source from which to seek repayments.
Delaware County officials estimated that its municipalities will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars this weekend on overtime, road signs, and other expenses.
"We have encouraged local governments to track their additional costs in the event that subsequent federal, state, or event financial assistance becomes available," Delaware County Councilman John P. McBlain said in a statement.
Some municipalities may spend less than initially expected; officials scaled back their plans when SEPTA did not sell all of its train passes.