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You Paid For It: Taxpayers foot the bill of presidential campaign visits

You could be footing some of the bill for political rallies (WHAM photo)

Monroe County, N.Y. (WHAM) - The 2016 presidential campaign is long over, and a new president is in the White House as of Friday.

But dozens of local governments are saying the candidates for president still owe them money.

Campaigns for Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump are, so far, refusing to pay bills they were sent, according to the Center For Public Integrity.

In Rochester, however, taxpayers are the ones paying for campaign visits to the area.

Thousands of people rallied for Trump at JetStream Aviation near the Greater Rochester International Airport and they parked or used bus shuttles from the Tech Park in Gates.

Large crowds also rallied for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at MCC in Brighton.

Rochester Police helped to escort former president Bill Clinton through the city on a campaign visit for his wife.

Even in an overflow room at the Greece Town Hall, it was packed with people who wanted to hear Republican John Kasich speak ahead of the New York presidential primary.

All of these visits cost taxpayers money, primarily in the form of police protection, security and traffic control.

In other communities, these campaigns are now receiving bills. Our sister station WRGB in Albany said the City of Albany is seeking more than $80,000 from the Trump, Clinton and Sanders campaigns.

Kasich paid the city, but the government said it intends to send lawyers after the campaigns who chose not to pay.

In our area, that is not the case at all.

13WHAM News contacted many of the agencies which provided support for these candidates' visits. State Police did not send any invoices to any of the presidential campaign events.

The Town of Greece waived a small fee for renting the Town Hall and isn't asking for reimbursement of any police costs.

The Greater Rochester International Airport directed us to federal authorities, but was not aware of any direct impact on its budget when Trump visited.

The Town of Gates said police costs were minimal and the Tech Park is a privately-run facility.

A spokesman for the City of Rochester said costs were also very minimal for President Bill Clinton's visit. As a policy, Rochester rarely charges campaigns for such events as it is an important part of our democracy.

While Albany and others are asking for reimbursement, these candidate visits in the Rochester area are something that you paid for.

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