FILE- Fiserv Forum, Democratic Convention, Milwaukee

Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee's new downtown arena that opened in the summer of 2018, is seen on Monday, March 11, 2019. Democrats picked Milwaukee on Monday to host their 2020 national convention, setting up the party's standard-bearer to accept the presidential nomination in the heart of the old industrial belt that delivered Donald Trump to the White House.

Milwaukee's mayor says his city doesn't have anywhere close to the money needed to pay for security and first responder costs for the Democratic National Convention. 

Mayor Tom Barrett says that's why he is asking for $50 million to help pay for those costs.

"Our grant submission is for $50 million," Barrett said Wednesday. "That includes the funding necessary to provide a safe and secure environment for Milwaukee residents, all DNC participants and delegates, the news media, protesters, service providers, and the general public."

While the price tag may be eye popping, Barrett said the request is almost perfunctory. 

"Since 2004, Congress has consistently awarded funding for presidential nominating conventions in recognition that no host city has the ability to fully absorb the costs," the mayor added.

Congress set aside $100 million for the 2020 conventions. Barrett said Milwaukee is requesting half, and it's expected that Charlotte will make the same request to host the Republican National Convention. 

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said his department has been planning for the DNC for months. He said they got a taste of what is to come when President Donald Trump held a rally in Milwaukee Tuesday night. 

"That was a good snippet of what you're going to be seeing in the near future this summer," Morales said. "There is more than just seeing the presence of law enforcement."

Barrett said while Milwaukee is in charge of securing the convention, he added Milwaukee Police will also have to continue to serve and protect the rest of the city. 

"We understand that it is important for our residents to continue and maintain the police presence that we would have in July in Milwaukee," Barrett said. "These additional costs are the costs we anticipate will be covered by the federal grant."

That means bringing in police officers and other law enforcement and public safety officers to provide security at the convention. 

But Barrett said Milwaukee will have to be responsible with convention spending or the city could be left holding the bag for some costs. 

"It has to be tied to the convention," Barrett said, speaking to all expenditures. "It can't be somebody's dream list. What we have to establish is that there is a nexus between what we're doing and the convention."

The Center Square Contributor

An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.