While that is certainly true that payments for extra "enforcement" and to businesses whose shops were damaged in the unrest, the reason for the unrest, a murder by a police officer of a young man who was surrendering was the absolute cause of of the disturbances that resulted in damaged properties and overtime pay for various cops.
And secondarily, dragging out the military equipment is a magnet for anarchists. Why Ferguson and St Louis County thought they needed to try to scare upset locals with armored personnel carriers covered with police bristling with high powered weapons and tear gas and smoke canister launchers is hidden in the deeply authoritarian hearts of those who find police forces their military-lite comfort zone for employment. Maybe we should analyze how police work is much safer than actual military so a chance to shove some weight around on dark skinned people without much danger to the pot bellied bodies of the "knights in blue".
But the cause was the murder of Mike Brown and the police-state style reaction of the authorities.
By the time that Highway Patrol Chief Johnson was selected to help calm things down it was too late. The anarchists already had their bags packed and their plane tickets purchased and many were already there. they weren't going to let a good upset go by without their Occupy style blow back. (and to be honest, I'm not sure the addition of the Occupy style didn't help. Maybe departments should know that hassling validly upset locals when they try to express outrage is going to encourage expansion of tension and arrival of activists from East to West coasts).
There were many locally based activists too and then apparently other people intent on looting. The local activists actually helped or tried to help stop the theft and destruction. But afterwards were once again they were the target of righteous overstuffed officers acting like guardsmen to the queen of white supremacy in Missouri.
That and the murder is what will cost millions of dollars, not citizens validly marching in the streets over another of their citizens unnecessarily gunned down by a white policeman trained and employed by a local department which doesn't care if their officers are racists.
The report also says the cost will likely be mostly borne in the end by state and federal governments, and that is good, too. Both state and federal entities have mandates to ensure local governments are not harassing and unfairly criminalizing their citizens. We're not a nation built of fiefdoms, but the United States of America.
BTW, Ferguson is lucky (or more likely filled with better sense) LA's Rodney King riots of 1992 ended up costing a billion dollars for damage and 65 lives. The benefits of protesting, but not rioting should accrue to the good people of Ferguson.
See KSDK 5 AP: Ferguson unrest could cost taxpayers millions
Picture at top was clipped using Windows Snipping Tool and used via Creative Commons License Attribution (CC by 2.0) thanks to flickr user Chris Ball who has no connection to this blog or blogger