Pacifica seeking funds from FEMA 

The city is working in conjunction with the state to bring in at least $130,000 in federal emergency reimbursements, but city officials remain unsure whether they will receive the funds at all as they work to shore up a $1.1 million deficit.

Pacifica has been seeking some $440,000 in reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for emergency repairs done to several parts of the city, which was damaged early in 2006 after a series of heavy rains. In April, a part of Highway 1 known as Devil’s Slide started sliding under the rain-soaked earth, which forced closure of that section for months.

The city is awaiting feedback from an application for FEMA reimbursements to the tune of $130,000 for one particular project. Norton said the city is still applying for additional funding, making up the total $440,000 figure, for damage done during those storms.

Interim City Manager Bill Norton acknowledged that FEMA may deny the city’s request for this money and that the chunk of funding is a large part of why the city faces a $1.1 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year. If this funding doesn’t come into the city, Norton said that more severe cuts will have to be made in order to balance the budget.

"We don’t know whether it’s going to come in, but we’re certainly trying," Norton said.

FEMA wants to make another site visit there to view the damage and determine whether theywill be footing the bill for the repairs, FEMA spokeswoman Kelly Hudson said. California’s Office of Emergency Services spokeswoman Carol Singleton said her agency on Tuesday forwarded some information about these reimbursements from FEMA to the city of Pacifica, notifying them that FEMA wants to bring its own geotechnical analyst out to the site before determining whether the city will receive this set of funding. The state is the middleman through which FEMA funds are disbursed, Singleton said.

See a photo of the storm on Examiner's "San Francisco in Pictures" blog.

The unusually tough weather hit all of San Mateo County hard in 2006, causing landslides, worsening roadways and generally causing public-works headaches all over the Peninsula. Because of the rain, the federal government officially declared a state of emergency in San Mateo County.

Federal funds are disbursed only to local agencies if the federal government declares the area in such a state of emergency. Hudson said that the pool of funds for such disasters changes every year, requiring special approval from Congress if more money is needed, such as with the 2005 Hurricane Katrina aftermath.

Hudson said that most of San Mateo County has received all of its funding for the 2006 disaster. Burlingame sought some funding to repair slide damage to Mills Canyon, a popular recreation area and a natural city watershed, and was able to make these repairs and secure reimbursement this year.

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