For Immediate ReleaseMarch 14, 2017
Federal and state assistance sought in wake of severe winter blasts
San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin is facing an estimated bill of $8.76 million to repair damage from this winter’s storms and is looking for financial support on the heels of state and federal storm-related disaster declarations. The amount goes up to $9.9 million when including reported damage from Marin’s towns and cities, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services (OES).
The long-term impact to the County’s budget won’t be known until all repairs are completed and both state and federal agencies reimburse for whatever costs can be covered. The reimbursement process can take several years.
“It’s imperative that we get all roads in a critical state done as fast as we can for safety reasons,” said Raul Rojas, Director of Public Works. “We hope to receive state and federal reimbursements for these important repairs.”
At the meeting, members of DPW’s roads, engineering and flood control teams received ovations from the Supervisors and those in the Board chambers for their all-hours commitments to storm repairs.
This winter, the County activated personnel to its temporary Emergency Operations Center five times between December and February because of storms that brought severe rainfall and winds. Hundreds of County employees worked with first responders from Marin towns, cities and other agencies to preserve public safety. The storms, sometimes combined with king tides, caused hundreds of cases of flooding, mudslides, trees toppled, erosion damage and power outages. The most costly slide-related repairs are expected to be at Lucas Valley and Nicasio Valley Road in Nicasio, Los Ranchitos Road at Red Rock Way in Terra Linda, and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard at Baywood Canyon Road near Fairfax.
The County declared a local state of emergency on January 24 because of the severity of the storm. The Governor of California followed the same day with a declaration of a state of emergency for Marin and many other counties and appealed for federal help. The President of the United States approved a major disaster declaration for California on February 14, which makes federal funding available to Marin for some repairs sustained during storms of January 3-12. In emergency response situations, the County routinely finances repair work and later seeks reimbursement from state and federal sources.
Each damaged site needs to be inspected by a federal representative before it can qualify for such assistance. “We need to pursue repairs on sites that have the potential to cause more damage to infrastructure or private property,” Rojas said.
This is not the first time the County has appealed for financial relief after a natural disaster. The storms of December 2005/January 2006 and April 2006 generated 151 unique damage locations and caused an estimated $15 million in damage to County-maintained property, according to Public Works. Of that, $10 million eventually was reimbursed by the state or federal government. Marin’s municipalities also sustained a combined $13.3 million in damage during the December 2014 storms.
Individual property owners and other residents sustained damage as well. Individual assistance is only available if the federal government declares a major disaster, and the threshold of relief is often determined by the total estimated costs of damage and repairs to the affected area. Marin OES is collecting information online and directing affected residents to the California Office of Emergency Services’ webpage on individual assistance.
Marin residents may be eligible for tax relief if they have sustained $10,000 or more worth of storm-related damage. Information and application forms for individual disaster relief may be obtained by writing the Office of Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk, County of Marin, P.O. Box C, San Rafael, CA 94913 or by telephone at (415) 473-7215 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The form is available on the Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk’s website.
Raul RojasDirectorDepartment of Public Works
3501 Civic Center DriveSan Rafael, CA 94913(415) 473-6530CRS Dial 711Email: Raul Rojaswww.marincounty.org/pw