Ferguson City Council Declares State of Emergency in Abbreviated Meeting

586
State of Emergency

Tonight in a brief meeting, the Ferguson City Council declared a state of emergency due to the excessive flooding we have and may continue to have in the next couple of days. City Manager Eric Osterberg was authorized to appoint a Director of Civil Defense to oversee recovery efforts.

Osterberg gave an update to council stating that he had spoken with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) today, including a FEMA representative who has worked with the city in the past. He also commended the city’s first responders, who worked on multiple water rescues, including one vehicle that was swept into a creek. Osterberg explained that both the state governor as well as the St. Louis County executive have declared state of emergencies. Additionally there are state and federal elected officials requesting that President Biden declare a state of emergency. These declarations will open the way to assistance from FEMA.

There are two categories of assistance from FEMA. The first is public assistance. If damage reaches the level to trigger public assistance, then generally the city can expect reimbursement for any activity that the city takes contractually in clean up within the first 72 hours, as well as overtime costs of city staff. The second category of FEMA assistance will require a state of emergency declaration by the federal government and will make programs available from FEMA in conjunction with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for businesses and property owners.

Council discussion also noted that reports of property damage can be submitted to the city so that they can submit reports to FEMA by sending descriptions of damage and photos to flood@fergusoncity.com. It will also be important for residents to share this information with neighbors who had damage but may not be on social media to see the city’s informational posts.

In other council business the regular agenda was postponed to a special meeting to be held in two weeks on August 9, 2022. There were items on this evening’s agenda considered to be of pressing importance that were addressed. The first was to extend the annual liquor license approval until August 10th. Next, a pair of resolutions for towing services with Bolin Services and Super Service which were both passed. Also passed was a resolution for documents needed for a project proposal for a grant-in-aid under the Municipal Parks Grant Commission. This proposal will be for the renovation of tennis courts at Forestwood Park. The final resolution considered and passed was for amendments to the Economic Development Sales Tax Fund Budget for work on the Zoning, Subdivision, and Sign Code. Finally, the second reading of a bill amending ordinances relating to regulation and issuance of excavation permits was read and passed.