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President to make first visit of season, while law enforcement still owed money for costs from FEMA

Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 05:18:48-05

President Donald Trump is set to make his first visit to the Winter White House on Tuesday, requiring an entourage of law enforcement, but the federal government still owes our local agencies money from last season’s visits.

Right now, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office is waiting for FEMA to reimburse $5.6 million for costs associated with protecting President Trump from October 2017 to April 2018.

Palm Beach Police Department asked FEMA for between $37,000 and $57,000, which the department expects to receive by Dec. 31.

However, businesses at the Lantana Airport don’t know if they’ll ever get a check for profits lost from the required no-fly zone when the president is in town.

"It’s thousands of dollars worth of business that it affects every time," said Iftach Shimonovitc, of Southern Helicopters.

Shimonovitc said he had to cancel helicopter trips for customers as well as a big event this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.

A bill in Congress, which includes funds to reimburse Lantana Airport businesses, has yet to go through.

“Anything, reimbursement would be great or a solution would be better, so we could also keep the customers happy," Shimonovitc said.

West Palm Gas, along with the route on Southern Boulevard that closes from the airport to Mar-a-Lago, gets more business during President Trump's visit.

“I think it’s more of a positive thing," said Alex Fernandez, of West Palm Gas. "I think we’ve gotten closer with law enforcement, having secret service.”