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Debate surrounds annual $60M cost of 9/11 memorial

FILE - In this May 13, 2011 file photo, arborist Jeremy DeSimone, left, sprays fertilizer on a swamp white oak at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York. The foundation that runs the memorial estimates that once the
FILE - In this May 13, 2011 file photo, arborist Jeremy DeSimone, left, sprays fertilizer on a swamp white oak at the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York. The foundation that runs the memorial estimates that once the roughly $700 million project is complete, it will cost $60 million a year to operate.
Mark Lennihan, File, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Officials are facing questions over the expected $60 million-a-year operating budget of the national Sept. 11 memorial and museum at ground zero.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday called the memorial's operating cost a necessity for security and other costs unique to hosting millions of visitors a year on the reborn site of two terrorist attacks.

Some congressional Democrats underscored their efforts to help get federal money to cover some of the operating cost, while a Republican senator reiterated his opposition.

Even some victims' family members are divided over whether the annual price tag represents the price of paying tribute to the nearly 3,000 lives lost or the cost of unnecessary grandeur.