Oak Creek receives federal funds 16 months after Sikh Temple shooting

OAK CREEK (WITI) -- This week, Oak Creek received a check for about $150,000 from the federal government -- a reimbursement for the city's costs following last year's shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

Nearly 16 months after a gunman shot six people dead at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, the city of Oak Creek has received more than $150,000 in federal reimbursements.

"That's huge. Our annual budget is just over $23 million, so you throw $150,000 back in, every dollar is appreciated, trust me," Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said.

Mayor Scaffidi says he was initially told that it's rare for communities to receive such reimbursement.

"Typically, police overtime and those types of things are not reimbursed. I think there was a significance to this event, given that it happened in a place of worship. It had national and cultural significance. That's probably part of the reason," Mayor Scaffidi said.

Oak Creek Police Chief John Edwards says applying for the money wasn't easy.

"For the Department of Justice, they wanted it broken down by event, wages and benefits, rank, position -- things like that. There are shift premiums, so we had to keep track of everything we had and give them pretty extensive spreadsheets and every bit of overtime," Edwards said.

While most of the costs were incurred by the Oak Creek Police Department, the federal money will go into the city's general fund.

"We'll be in good shape this year -- much better shape than we would've been without it," Mayor Scaffidi said.

Mayor Scaffidi says he learned the city would be reimbursed at the one-year anniversary event in August.

"Everybody loves to bash the federal government. I probably do it sometimes as well -- but in this case, they stepped up and in our taxpayers' minds, it relieved a burden because Oak Creek didn't have to spend that money. It was spent on a federal level and really, where it belonged because this was a national tragedy," Mayor Scaffidi said.

All together, the federal government has provided about $500,000 in reimbursements.

The rest of the money has been set aside for other responding agencies and the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.