L.A. County receives federal funds for storm damage

FEMA Project Specialist Alieu Sheriff, left, takes notes as he and City of Santa Clarita Emergency Services Supervisor Donna Nuzzi and City of Santa Clarita Management Analyst Elana Galvez tour site at the corner of Sand Canyon and Iron Canyon road in Canyon country on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

California counties, including Los Angeles County, were approved for federal funding by President Trump on Thursday to address January storm damage.

Governor Brown made the disaster declaration to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to repair and replace facilities in 16 counties affected by storms between Jan. 18 and 23.

While county, state and federal representatives have already visited Santa Clarita and other areas affected by damages, Santa Clarita Emergency Services Supervisor Donna Nuzzi said the city is still in the beginning stages before it will receive the funding.

“I’m very pleased that President Trump has put in this declaration, not just in our city, but in many cities across California,” Nuzzi said. “This means a lot to be eligible to receive funding. It’s very preliminary, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Santa Clarita representatives will have to meet with officials to provide invoices and documents to prove storm damages in order to get FEMA funds.

As needed and warranted under the disaster declaration, funding may include no less than 75 percent of reimbursement for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repairing and replacing damaged public facilities and no more than 75 percent of approved costs for hazard mitigation projects.

The exact amount of funds will be determined when the city meets with county, state and federal representatives.

Los Angeles County Department of Emergency Services Deputy Director Leslie Luke said the county will meet with a federal coordinating officer in the next few weeks to discuss next steps to receive funding.

“Every county will have to work with FEMA to come up with a project plan to repair whatever the damages are or work toward reconstituting any of the buildings, roadways, public utilities, parks or wherever there is damage,” Luke said. “The repairs will hopefully mitigate that from happening again and repairing some of the work damaged by the debris and the mudflows.”

Brad Alexander, California Office of Emergency Services’ Chief of Media Relations and Public Information, said this funding will be an important part in helping to repair statewide storm damage.

“This news is great for the state of California,” Alexander said. “We’ve been hard hit this year with many different kinds of emergencies. This new assistance will be critical in rebuilding our public works and critical infrastructure.”

FEMA External Affairs Officer Victor Inge said after these meetings occur, funding will be given out and projects can move forward.

“From here, they’ll develop what these projects will be,” Inge said. “After that, they will commence with work.”

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