State of emergency for storm damage may be extended

Hammered by losses totaling more than $2 million, county emergency officials will ask the Board of Supervisors today to extend San Luis Obispo County’s weeklong proclamation of local emergency.

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

Jim Grant, the county administrative officer and emergency services director, proclaimed an emergency 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 today’s meeting, county emergency officials will delineate the damage so far and talk about recovery efforts.

Another storm is expected to bring rain by late this afternoon, turning heavy tonight and into Wednesday.

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 prestorm conditions to the degree possible, there is a need ... to 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 guesstimates for now, the best we can get.”

Residences with major damage, 15; minor, 30; affected (a FEMA term meaning 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. 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 at 50 sites, estimated loss $110,000.

Emergency protective measures at 35 sites, $115,000; roads and bridges at 35 sites $750,000; water control facilities at 5 sites, $20,000; public buildings and equipment at 5 sites, $10,000; public utilities at 15 sites, $25,000; parks, recreation, other at 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.

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