Local officials want state of emergency status extended

Hammered by losses totaling more than $2 million, county emergency officials will ask the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to extend the county’s week-long proclamation of local emergency.

The meeting Tuesday will begin at 9 a.m. at the Board of Supervisors chambers, County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St., San Luis Obispo.

Jim Grant, the county administrative officer and emergency services director, proclaimed an emergency on Dec. 21, retroactive to Dec. 19. Under county codes, the Board of Supervisors must meet within seven days to ratify an emergency proclamation.

The emergency was predicated on storm damage, including flooding. As part of the Tuesday meeting, county emergency officials will delineate the damage so far, and talk about recovery efforts. Another storm is expected later in the week.

A state of emergency gives local agencies more flexibility in dealing with disasters and hastens the flow of state and local dollars to the county.

In a memo to supervisors, Ron Alsop of the Office of Emergency Services did not put a time limit on how long the state of emergency should continue. “Generally,” Alsop wrote The Tribune in an e-mail, “local and state proclamations of emergency do not have stated end dates when they are proclaimed,”

However, Alsop added, the board must review the need at least every 14 days, “and shall proclaim the termination of such emergency at the earliest possible date that conditions warrant.” He said the issue would be on the board’s agenda Jan. 11 “for probable close out, unless we have more damaging storms or another need to keep the local proclamation open at that time.”

The need currently exists, Alsop wrote.

“Due to the ongoing response and recovery efforts necessary to restore roads and other infrastructure to pre-storm conditions to the degree possible, there is a needto continue to operate under the authority of a local emergency proclamation.”

In response to a Tribune request, Alsop released some very preliminary estimates of damage. He stressed that the numbers, which the county has provided to the California Emergency Management Agency, are “really guessimates for now, the best we can get.”

  • Residences with major damage: 15; minor 30; affected (a FEMA term - really including minor damage), 80, for an estimated cost of $750,000.
  • Businesses with major damage: 2, minor 5, affected 20 for an estimated cost of $185,000 ... “however that does not include lost revenue and losses to employees who cannot work.”
  • Total public and business estimated damages: $935,000
  • Public agencies (all local jurisdictions throughout the county): Debris removal and disposal, 50 sites estimated loss $110,000;
  • Emergency protective measures at 35 sites, $115,000; roads and bridges 35 sites $750,000; water control facilities 5 sites, $20,000; public buildings and equipment 5 sites, $10,000; public utilities 15 sites, $25,000; parks, rec, other 5 sites $100,000.
  • Total public agency estimated damages: $1,130,000
  • Total estimated damages/costs submitted as information to Cal EMA: $2,065,000