2017 Disaster Recap
As counties impacted by the 2017 fires and 2018 mudslides work on local recovery efforts, CSAC continues to work on providing additional state and federal support continues.
The State and Federal governments have also taken actions to support the fire response and recovery for both the October and December wildfires. Governor Brown has now issued a total of seven Emergency Declarations covering 13 counties affected by the fires in 2017. He has also issued a number of Executive Orders to waive a variety of fees and regulations to help facilitate the recovery process in our communities. CAL Fire response costs will require a 2017-18 budget augmentation of $469.3 million, which will be provided through the state’s Emergency Fund. As of December 2017, the state accessed $43.4 million in resources available from the State Fund for Economic Uncertainties for a number of departments for their expenses related to unexpected equipment, personnel and other disaster costs. The Governor’s January budget also proposes to continue additional enhancements to CAL Fire’s budget for personnel, equipment and training in recognition of our extreme weather and a fire season that has become essentially year-round.
The Governor’s January budget proposal also recognizes the devastating wildfires and resulting disasters that continue to impact local communities in both Northern and Southern California. The current budget proposal provides $23.7 million in backfill to counties and other local jurisdictions for lost property taxes in 2017-18 and 2018-19 resulting from the October 2017 fires. This is a preliminary number that will be updated to capture full losses in counties in both northern and southern California in the May Revision. Counties are strongly encouraged to report their estimates of property tax losses to CSAC in order to provide an accurate estimate. The Governor’s January budget proposal notes the school share of losses will be backfilled by the General Fund pursuant to Proposition 98 funding mechanism, which is estimated to total $24.5 million in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Estimates for the total costs across the state will be in the billions of dollars, and the full impact of these events has yet to be determined. In addition to funding from our state’s budget, California is currently advocating for a federal supplemental disaster-related appropriations bill totaling $4.4 billion to support our recovery efforts.
The State has been successful in securing a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for the Northern California October Fires and Southern California December Fires. The Southern California Declaration now includes the terrible flooding and mudslides occurring in Santa Barbara County. In addition, the Federal government has issued several other disaster related proclamations which allow for supplemental federal assistance and for the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid state and local response efforts.