Newark residents turned out by the hundreds when pop icon Whitney Houston was laid to rest in their hometown on February 18, but their show of support has waned with the release of a $187 thousand bill that they're being asked to foot for police officers who worked during the funeral.
The overtime pay accounts for about five percent of the department's $4 million annual budget, CBS New York reports, and is an expense that Newark residents say Whitney Houston's family should have paid.
“If they wanted it to go that far, do that much, they should have been the ones providing for it,” Newark resident Quincy Ruffin told CBS.
Security around the funeral home and church were very tight, according to a previous report, with police closing down Martin Luther King Boulevard and prohibiting the public from encroaching on the private, albeit star-studded, service. Exclusion from the memorial has further fueled locals' frustration over the city's exorbitant bill.
"I thought we'd at least be able to see something. We're the people who made her what she is, how can they block us out?" Newark resident Jamil Gillespie asked NJ.com before the event took place.
Democratic Councilwoman Mildred Crump says the police presence was justified, however. “If they had not been there someone may have been trampled, seriously hurt,” she said.
In nearby Westfield, where Houston was buried, another $9,000 was spent in police overtime, CBS News reports.