Now that the dust has settled since pop icon Whitney Houston was laid to rest, it is time to pay the piper. Newark, N.J., residents recently found out that they are responsible for paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in police overtime for Houston’s funeral, according to CBS New York.
With nearly 200 police officers in attendance at the New Hope Baptist Church, the Whigham funeral home, and at the Newark Club reception hall, police overtime reportedly cost the city of Newark nearly $187, 000 for the day, comprising 5 percent of the $4 million budget for the year.
Now Newark taxpayers are finding out that they are the ones eating the bill and many are reportedly not happy about it. One resident complained to CBS New York that they shouldn’t be responsible for the bill, especially since the fans were denied a public memorial and weren’t allowed anywhere near the funeral.
“I think it was a waste of time and then now we find out what happened and how she actually died, it makes you think twice saying was it worth it or not,” said Minerva DelValle.
Another Newark resident added:
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous when you have people who are unemployed and homeless, people walking up and down the streets,” said Quincy Ruffin. If they [the Houston family] wanted it to go that far, do that much, they should have been the ones [paying] for it.”
Still, there are some who think the costs were necessary. Democratic Councilwoman Mildred Crump defended the costs, saying, “I was able to be witness to the thousands upon thousands of people who were desperate to attend service but held back by barriers and officers of the law. If they had not been there someone may have been trampled [or] seriously hurt.”
Houston’s death-related costs didn’t stop there, though. The following day, Houston was finally laid to rest in Westfield, N.J., at Fairview Cemetery. In order to monitor Houston’s remains being buried, another $9,000 was accrued in police overtime.
On February 18, Houston’s funeral was held at New Hope Baptist Church, with fellow stars, such as Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Clive Davis, and Kevin Costner, in attendance. Houston actually died a week earlier on February 11 from a lethal combination of drowning, heart disease and cocaine use during Grammy Awards weekend at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel at the age of 48.