DC's Emancipation Day parade goes on despite dispute

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The D.C. government is observing Emancipation Day. It's a holiday to commemorate Abraham Lincoln's freeing of the slaves in the District of Columbia in 1862.

Bruce Johnson reports that today's parade was almost canceled because of a dispute between Mayor Vincent Gray and the D.C. Council.

The Council budgeted $350,000, but the issue was another $161,000, along with police and fire department expenses. Who is going to pay for that?

Councilman Vincent Orange, the force behind Emancipation Day, says in past years, police and fire departments simply absorb their own cost over runs.

"We are a $12 billion organization. We waste money so much. To talk about a simple hundred thousand dollars is ridiculous," Orange said.

The Gray administration agreed to allow departments to absorb the additional expenses. The question is, how these events will be executed and how the cost will be covered?

Next year, the council gets out of the business of organizing and managing the Emancipation Day activities, including big name concerts and fireworks.

The bill establishing DC Emancipation Day was passed back in 2005.


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