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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Whitney Houston’s funeral cost town $187K

AP photo

AP photo

Newark, N.J. taxpayers are on the hook for $187,000 – 5 percent of the town’s annual police department budget – following singer Whitney Houston’s funeral, CBS  NY reports.

That figure represents the wages of the 200 or so officers who stood guard during the service, CBS reports.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous when you have people who are unemployed and homeless, people walking up and down the streets,” Newark resident Quincy Ruffin told CBS.

On the other hand, could the site of Houston’s home going service become a tourist attraction? The Northern Ohio News-Herald reported that Elvis Presley continues making money 35 years after his death.

“Graceland … has averaged more than 600,000 visitors a year, with more than 750,000 a couple of years,” the News-Herald reported, referring to Elvis’ estate in Memphis, which includes his gravesite. “With an average ticket price of $36, that works out to $21.6 million in annual ticket sales. Graceland spokesman Kevin Kern says roughly half of revenue is from ticket sales and half from licensing and merchandising.”

What’s your opinion? Should Houston’s family reimburse the town, or should Newark bank on revenue from fans making the trek there?

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

115 comments Add your comment

Jraynola

April 9th, 2012
3:55 pm

Family should reimburse the city.

Brian

April 9th, 2012
3:55 pm

first, and this is crazy

Brian

April 9th, 2012
3:56 pm

i guess it is second, need to type faster, maybe NJ will pay for classes for me

gadem

April 9th, 2012
4:02 pm

the family should have paid for the security like every other family does, UNLESS the city agreed to cover the cost of police escort etc….

my questions are

April 9th, 2012
4:09 pm

My question are, would they ask any other person to reimburse the city? Would you rather have had disorder given the magnitude of her noteriety? Or, is this expense, compared to what things would have possibly been like without police presence there actually less? Just asking…

Charles

April 9th, 2012
4:10 pm

I believe the total responsibility of this cost lay on the Houston family since they wanted the privacy that was afforded them. Even if the privacy that was afforded them, the Houston family should reimburse the city as other families less well known do who requests police prescence at their love ones funeral process.

Charles

April 9th, 2012
4:11 pm

funeral procession.

Wendy

April 9th, 2012
4:12 pm

Honestly, who gives a damn?? The tax payers that fotted the bill will be the same idiots that go to see her gravesite if it does become a tourist attraction so let them pay twice for a has been druggie.

Teacher Reader

April 9th, 2012
4:13 pm

If others need to reimburse the city for such services, then so should the Houston family. If they want the services, then they need to pony up the money for it.

tony

April 9th, 2012
4:13 pm

i think she paid enough in taxes in her lifetime to cover the expense of the damn funeral !!

Wendy

April 9th, 2012
4:14 pm

Honestly, who gives a damn? Let the same taxpayers that footed the bill pay it twice if they opt to go see her gravesite as a tourist attraction. She was a has been drug user and deserves no honor or recognition.

Jennifer Brett

April 9th, 2012
4:16 pm

Elvis was a drug user too, and his likeness was used for a USPS stamp once.

Just sayin,

Jennifer

1faknd

April 9th, 2012
4:20 pm

Family should pay. They have enough. Regular folks have to pay the police for a escort from the church to the cemetery so they aren’t any better than the rest of us. Pay up!!

JD

April 9th, 2012
4:28 pm

Since the governor lowered the flags to half staff, then the state should pay. Who decided how many officers were needed. If the family requested officers (specifically) then those should be reimbursed.

LOL

April 9th, 2012
4:28 pm

for a drug addict, the city should be reimbursed. absolutely.

Marie

April 9th, 2012
4:29 pm

I believe the family should pay it. We buried my father-in-law in Atlanta last year, and while we are not famous, we also did not have enough insurance to cover entire funeral. But we chose to have an officer escort the funeral procession through the streets of Atlanta. We had to pay him direct as this was not furnished via the City of Atlanta Police Department, and it was $150 per officer. We would like to have, had 2 officers but financially could only pay for one. I realize I am talking a lot smaller scale and amount of money, BUT, the fact is that we had to pay for everything and unfortunately for us the Tax Payers did not pay and I don’t believe it was the tax payers responsibility to pay for their high dollar security either. Famous people pay for their own security when they are alive and I see no reason why that should change when they die. As for, making money from ticket sales to visit her graveside, that is ridiculous especially since she is buried in a public cemetary. I believe the cemetary and others that have plots in that cemetary, should have something to say about that. I know my parents are in a public cemetary and it would upset me greatly if I had to contend with people buying tickets to go to that one grave, everytime I tried to visit my parents grave. And to clear something up, I loved Whitney Houston and yes I agree she made bad decisions in her lifetime, I am not saying the family should be responsible for this out of spite, but just because right is right, and that is absolutely wrong that taxpayer dollars was used for private use.

ridiculous!

April 9th, 2012
4:29 pm

you can’t be serious?? do you really think houston’s gravesite will be anywhere near the tourist attraction of elvis’?

i’ll bet no more than 100 visitors each year.

Truthbe

April 9th, 2012
4:29 pm

Why??????????? She had a private funeral service.

ridiculous!

April 9th, 2012
4:31 pm

seriously? are you really comparing the appeal of whitney houston to elvis? if she gets 100 visitors i’ll be shocked.

mambo

April 9th, 2012
4:32 pm

Why didn’t they bury her in the backyard like they did Elvis? Huh?

JD

April 9th, 2012
4:33 pm

While you’re at it, figure out who computed that number. That’s almost a thousand dollars per officer. Maybe they pay those Newark officers more than they do here in Atlanta. Of course inflating the numbers will make for more comments by those who are outraged.

spud

April 9th, 2012
4:34 pm

Family should pay. Why should we have to pay for her funeral expenses. We have to pay for our families.

Mikol

April 9th, 2012
4:36 pm

I’m sure Whitney Houston gave generiously to the city prior to her passing by way of charitable donations etc. The city should extend the services as a COURTESY that is well deserved.

JD

April 9th, 2012
4:36 pm

I doubt that taxpayers paid for her funeral, she was not a pauper.

I've got something to say

April 9th, 2012
4:37 pm

The police were there to control crowds and keep order. The family should have decided before the funeral if they wanted a peaceful, orderly funeral or chaos. If they chose orderly than they pay for it just like they paid for everything else associated with the funeral.

Contractor

April 9th, 2012
4:39 pm

You’re telling me the public should cover the costs of Whitney Houston’s death when it was known she was a drug addict, and that drugs were found present in the room she was found dead in? America is going crazy. When did it ever come to this where the hard working public has to cover these costs of a millionaire junky? Whitney Houston didn’t have 1/10th of the appeal Elvis Presley did, so the day her grave site makes $21 million a year, will be the day I guard her grave 24 hours a day for the rest of my life.

JD,

It shouldn’t matter the cost, the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay the costs for this. What makes you believe the working citizens of this town should have to cover these costs? I am really interested in your answer since you seem to believe she deserved it. Answering the question would be appreciated, not beating around the bush like I figure you’ll do.

Texas Tea

April 9th, 2012
4:42 pm

Mikol,

A lot of hear say and opinion in what you wrote. How about you give cold hard facts to support your post that she gave back, instead of condoning this by a mere thought. It’s people like yourself that get taken by the government and just don’t ask questions, but I’m guessing you’re also the type that will take whatever the government is handing out that day.

Holly W.

April 9th, 2012
4:43 pm

I think Whitney is alive and well hanging out with Elvis in Mexico.

Mikol

April 9th, 2012
4:44 pm

What difference does it make that she had a drug problem? Whitney BLESSED us with her TALENTS. She deserves HONOR ! and she will get that from the many fans , friends and family that truly loved her.

gg

April 9th, 2012
4:46 pm

I do not think the family requested so many officers. Newark knew it would have been chaos otherwise. I am with you, Jennifer Brett, Elvis’s problems didn’t and do not stop continued notoriety, and he was found dead sitting on the toilet. Just saying.

Sherry

April 9th, 2012
4:47 pm

I agree with Wendy!!

Mikol

April 9th, 2012
4:47 pm

You people don’t understand the connection me and Whit had. She wrote and sang I will always love you for and to me. Take that Texas tee tee head.

Texas Tea

April 9th, 2012
4:48 pm

Mikol,

Ok, well then you and her fans, family, and friends can cover the costs. US soldiers don’t even get this type of honor, and regular civilians have to pay for their own escort. You’re a complete moron and don’t even deserve to comment because you’re head is so far deep in the sand you don’t even realize how dumb you sound.

Wendy

April 9th, 2012
4:49 pm

Well I see Mikol is on the Idiot Drug today!!

Mikol

April 9th, 2012
4:53 pm

Much love Texas Tea and Wendy……LOL….

Really

April 9th, 2012
4:53 pm

Really, people take a moment to think about who she was, she wasn’t Betty Sue that retired from City of Newark…don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Betty Sue is not as equally important, but Betty Sue was not a large ICON. The city of Newark would have been a total nightmare if the extra police patrol wasn’t in place……everyone icluding you….YEAH YOU… deserve a peacful HOMEGOING…….! Can we all find something else to talk about…

Texas Tea

April 9th, 2012
4:55 pm

Ok…gotta to come clean….I actually love Whitney and I think the city should pay for the expenses !

Paula

April 9th, 2012
4:56 pm

That’s part of a city’s responsibility in claiming that person as a resident. The funeral could have been in Atlanta but the folks of New Jersey seemed to want everyone to know that she was raised there. The city was probably reimbursed by the number of friends, reporters and fans that spent money there during the time of her funeral.Asking her family to pay that back would be very offensive!

WENDY

April 9th, 2012
4:56 pm

I’m with you Texas Tea…I really do love Whitney

Really

April 9th, 2012
4:56 pm

…..police present is always at funeral services, the bigger you are, the more police present
…so what’s the big deal!

Really? Really!

April 9th, 2012
4:59 pm

Really the difference is if you want that police “present” at your loved ones funeral its going to cost you. Those escorts are not a public service.

Bobby

April 9th, 2012
5:01 pm

If Whitney were here right now I would slap the mess right out her for running up such a bill.

TD

April 9th, 2012
5:06 pm

@ Contractor. It doesn’t make any sense to say that Elvis deserve more honor then Whitney when they both died of drug usage. So you’re trying to say that Elvis was a better drug user so he deserves honor more. You’re a real genius aren’t you?

Pam

April 9th, 2012
5:07 pm

So, what most of you are saying is that there should not have been a police presence at the funeral directing traffic and keeping crowds at bay. OK

Joanna

April 9th, 2012
5:09 pm

Absolutely the family should reimburse the city! She’s likely made more money since her death than the many years she abused herself.

RIP

April 9th, 2012
5:13 pm

NJ should reverse the charges and send Houston’s family the bill

RIP

April 9th, 2012
5:13 pm

NJ should reverse the charges and send Houston’s family the bill

luvlife

April 9th, 2012
5:14 pm

Hmmmmm, are Wendy, Texas Tee and Mikol the same people? lol

Peter

April 9th, 2012
5:15 pm

What a joke…. tax money and a 1/2 flag for a person who died killing themselves with drugs !

RIP Whitney

April 9th, 2012
5:16 pm

The state NJ failed to mention all the revenue that Whitney’s funeral brought to the state which had to be at least 10 or 20 times that amount. After subtracting out the security costs, the state still made a small fortune. Tell the whole story or don’t bother telling any of it.