Council to hear presentations on ice storm debris reimbursement
The City of Aiken's expenses associated with picking up ice storm debris and its reimbursement will be discussed at the City Council meeting on Monday.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, located at 214 Park Ave.
According to a memo from City Manager Richard Pearce to Council, the S.C. Emergency Management Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, representatives will be present to discuss Winter Storm Pax public assistance.
The ice storm dropped more than one inch of ice on Aiken County and caused mass power outages across the state on Feb. 11. By Feb. 24, a number of crews began recovery efforts throughout the county, City of Aiken and the City of North Augusta. In the memo, Pearce said the City has documented and categorized expenditures for potential reimbursement from FEMA.
Aiken County is set to receive a portion of federal aid after the White House approved South Carolina's request for federal disaster relief in March. South Carolina will receive 75 percent of the federal reimbursement, and the state will pick up the remaining 25 percent to cover recovery and emergency operations.
The City of Aiken is participating in FEMA's Alternative Procedures Pilot Program for accelerated debris removal for potential reimbursement up to 85 percent for the first 30 days of cleanup, 80 percent for costs from 31 to 90 days of cleanup and 75 percent from 91 to 180 days.
Pearce said since the City used only City staff for debris collection in city limits, the program could potentially reimburse for both straight-time and overtime costs for staff who worked on debris collection from Feb. 18 through March 28.
Some officials have voiced concern whether the City will receive full FEMA reimbursement since City crews picked up debris on S.C. Department of Transportation right-of-ways – which was covered under the state disaster recovery contract.
Derrec Becker, public information coordinator with the S.C. Emergency Management Division, told the Aiken Standard earlier this month the FEMA review process is ongoing, and he couldn't say whether the City will receive full reimbursement on both City streets and the state right-of-ways that have raised concern.
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree with the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.