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Eclipse 2017 aftermath: Extra staffing uses little to no extra taxpayer money

Government agencies: Almost normal Monday

Eclipse 2017 aftermath: Extra staff...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - One day after the eclipse's path of totality crossed mid-Missouri, government agencies are looking into the number of visitors who showed up and how much they spent while visiting the region.

Government agencies are also looking into how much it cost to have extra staff on duty Monday.

The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency opened its office over the weekend, which meant more hours for personnel to work. Staff at SEMA said though, that the personnel who worked were salaried employees, so no extra money was used, except for a small amount for food.

The Missouri Department of Transportation had full crews working to monitor the roadways and help out where needed, but Sally Oxenhandler, communications manager for MoDOT, said the only additional costs for the extra staffing might be some overtime pay.

In Columbia, many of the extra staffers were paid through a special event overtime budget.

The Columbia and Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureaus are working to find out how many visitors came into town to view the eclipse and how much money those visitors brought in.

MoDOT, SEMA and local emergency agencies said the eclipse brought in extra traffic, but as far as calls for service and accidents, it was a slightly above average Monday.

Amy Schneider, director of the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, said at this time it's hard to calculate the exact economic impact from the tourists traveling to Columbia to view the eclipse.

"We know the hotels were at 95 percent occupancy. There were a lot of people who hosted friends and family, and the airbnb rentals were high for the weekend. We estimate approximately 8,000 people attended the celebration at Cosmo Park and approximately 875 attending the Gans Creek Park celebration. A very conservative economic impact of these two celebrations alone would be $1,361,832," Schneider wrote in an email.

Schneider said it will be hard to tell the true economic impact of the eclipse until sales tax receipts and lodging tax receipts are collected. Then the CVB can compare those numbers to years past to see what kind of increase the city had this August to years past.


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