When it rains, it pours – and in Santa Barbara County last month, it poured close to $3 million in damages.
Santa Barbara County Administrator Michael Brown proclaimed a local emergency in the County of Santa Barbara on March 14, due to an estimated $1.3 million in damages to county facilities caused by recent rainstorms. The proclamation was immediately sent to Gov. Gray Davis’ office in Sacramento, requesting that he declare a State of Emergency for Santa Barbara County in order for the county to be eligible for state disaster assistance funds.
Since the initial March 14 estimated cost in damages, the county has calculated a more accurate estimate at $2.87 million in damages, said Bruce Carter, Santa Barbara County Emergency Services manager.
“[The $2.87 million] is only to county facilities; we are looking at another estimated million from special districts,” he said. “There are 60 special districts, for example there is the Goleta West Sanitary District, the city of Solvang, and Guadalupe alone lost a roof at city hall which will cost $100,000.”
Carter said when weather damages occur the county has to compensate for the cost. However, when the caliber of the damages is exceedingly high, the county also requests funds from the state.
“The state did not declare a state of emergency, but instead we got a step down which is called a Directors Concurrence from the State Office of Emergency Services,” he said. “This accesses up to 75 percent in reimbursements for public facilities. Public facilities range from roads to sanitary districts to schools’ roofs or anything of that sort.”
Santa Barbara County has made similar proclamations in the past, most recently because of millions of dollars of damage caused by storms in 1998 and 1995, Carter said. The final estimation in damages will be available once all public facilities have submitted claims to the county.
“It started with a string of storms that began on March 5; we are still currently in a state of local emergency,” he said.
Derek Johnson, Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District manager, said I.V. will not be submitting any claims to damage caused by recent rainstorms.