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Paying For The Butte Fire

San Andreas, CA – Rushing to beat the clock, the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors asked the state for help in funding the cost of the Butte Fire at its meeting this week.

A technicality regarding state requirements on the board’s first application for the California Disaster Assistance Act Program forced the supervisors to take up the issue again.  Board Chair Cliff Edson commented that earlier in the week Cal Fire estimated its cost at around $36 million. He told the board, “Our costs are going to be significant to the county…What we’re trying to do is minimize the impact on us, too.”

After a public comment seeking information on the expected total costs to the county, Administrative Officer Shirley Ryan answered that will not be known for some time but stated the county is requesting an advance of just under $3 million from the state.  Ryan went on to explain,  “Federal funding will assist with 75% of the cost…the [state] program will cover 75% of the remaining 25% costs, reducing county cost to about six and a quarter percent…provided there is no additional funding through FEMA.”As reported yesterday, Calaveras County was added to the President’s Disaster Declaration ensuring federal funding.

With Supervisor Michael Oliveira absent, the board approved the amended application for state funding while authorizing Edson, Ryan, and Assistant County Administrative Officer Brian Moss to act as authorized agents on behalf of the county. Announcing that a deadline was looming for the amended application, Ryan called for a ten-minute recess in order to expedite submitting it to the state.

At next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, along with extending the county’s local state of emergency due to the Butte Fire, the supervisors will consider a proposed adjustment to the FY 2015-16 Adopted Budget for the Butte Fire. The initial document, described as “skeletal” for now, will allow the flexibility to move appropriations between line items as required, according to the county administrator and auditor controller.

According to the meeting documents, while it is anticipated that 75% of the costs will be federally funded, as mentioned above, the estimated breakdown indicates that 18.75% of the costs will be funded through the California Disaster Assistance Program and 6.25% will be a county cost. The initial budget totals $10,770,000.

More information about this from the Calaveras Supervisor meeting is here.