Nassau County of County Commissioners
Special Session, October 12, 2016, 6:00 p.m.
Commission Chambers, 96135 Nassau Place, Yulee, Florida
Call to Order, Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag
Present: Chairman Walter J. Boatright, Commissioners Daniel B. Leeper, Steve W. Kelley, George Spicer, and Pat Edwards.
Other Official Present: Michael S. Mullin, County Attorney; and Ted Selby, County Manager.
Staff Present: Shanea Jones and Justin Stankiewicz, Office of Management and Budget; Scott Herring, Public Works Director; and representing the Clerk’s office Connie Arthur, Deputy Clerk.
Purpose: To discuss debris pick up in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
SS161012 – 06:02:40 Gerald Enter came forward to review FEMA’s disaster assistance policy. He encouraged commissioners to visit his neighborhood (Pirates Wood) to view the debris. He cited limited access and safety issues and sought the Board’s help in removing the debris.
Ken Braddock, Virgil Stumbo, Bill Bass and Don Smith came forward to express similar concerns related to debris pickup in private neighborhoods and to question FEMA’s role.
SS161012 – 06:12:08 Billy Estep, Emergency Management Director, came forward to respond to questions regarding the individual and public assistance aspects of the recovery efforts. He and his staff are currently doing damage assessment countywide in order to provide the Governor’s office and FEMA representatives with data to determine eligibility for assistance via FEMA or Small Business Administration funds. He commented that preliminary assessment on privately owned structures countywide is approximately $10 million and climbing. He then reviewed the Federal, State and local funding split which is dependent upon precise documentation for claims and reimbursement.
Mr. Mullin clarified that if roads are maintained by a Homeowners Association they are considered private roads; if they are maintained by local government, they are considered public roads as defined by FEMA and the State. A State of Local Emergency has been declared in several counties and has been extended in order to prepare damage assessment reports. Additionally, the county’s policies were changed to reflect FEMA standards as it relates to debris pick up for eligibility purposes; contractors must meet FEMA requirements. Removal of debris from public roads is covered by FEMA if the policies are followed.
If the Board decides to pursue debris pick up in private communities, they must first make a specific finding that the debris removal is necessary for public health, safety or economic recovery of the community as a whole in order for the possibility of being considered for FEMA funds. Additionally, the Board would need to determine which private communities to consider. He noted that homeowners’ associations are required to have reserves, insurance and internal assessments to address certain issues.
The Board considered several options. Mr. Estep reviewed the process to submit a claim, documentation, and the different classifications of debris for collection purposes.
Mr. Selby interjected that the current estimate for cleaning up debris from public roads is $1.5 million.
Commissioner Leeper distributed and reviewed a FEMA Fact Sheet for debris removal from private property. Board members discussed ways to address the need throughout the county. Following discussion, it was noted that FEMA requires a detailed explanation for entering private property. The County Attorney suggested the Board direct the Public Works Director and contractors prepare documentation, including pictures, for Pirates Wood subdivision. Mr. Herring questioned the criteria to use to evaluate the subdivision roads.
Later in the meeting it was suggested to bring back this topic on October 19, 2016 in order for the Board to consider finding public health and safety necessity.
The group discussed guidelines for FEMA debris removal from private property. For the purpose of seeking reimbursement to remove debris from private property within a designated area, prior to commencement of work, the Director of Emergency Management will need to submit written request for reimbursement to, and receive approval from, the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for FEMA. Commissioner Leeper requested Mr. Estep to seek guidance from the FCO as to specific documentation required.
Responding to a question raised by Commissioner Spicer, the County Manager will request Fire/Rescue to determine if roads within Pirates Wood are accessible.
Mr. Herring reviewed a map depicting approximately 400 miles of private roads within the county in addition to another 400 miles of dirt roads and 400 miles of paved roads.
The group mentioned other governmental officials who had expressed a willingness to provide assistance.
Responding to a question raised by Chairman Boatright, Mr. Herring mentioned that the Florida Department of Transportation will begin debris removal tomorrow.
Mr. Herring commenced an overview of the debris removal process noting that firms under contract for debris removal and monitoring on public roads will commence pick up of vegetative and construction/demolition debris on October 17, 2016. Should citizens prefer to bring debris to the designated collection sites, they need to know they may only bring vegetative debris at this time. He mentioned that debris removal updates will be posted on thecountyinsider.com and the EOC website. Commissioner Leeper suggested Mr. Herring reach out to Rayonier to assist with debris removal as well.
Mr. Mullin emphasized that this is not a tax issue; it appears to be a public safety issue.
SS161012SS – 06:54:24
Motion: Approve to extend the declaration of local
emergency for the purpose of damage assessment
from October 18, 2016 through October 25, 2016
and authorize the Chairman to sign Resolution
2016 – 143 regarding same.
Maker: Commissioner Spicer
Second: Commissioner Leeper
Action: Aye: Commissioners Kelley, Spicer, Edwards,
Leeper and Chair Boatright.
Follow up: County Attorney, County Manager, EOC Director,
Public Works Director, OMB, Financial Services
Motion: Clarify motion made on October 10, 2016 that the
newly elected Chairman and Vice Chairman will
become effective November 21, 2015 through the
end of December 2017.
Maker: Commissioner Edwards
Second: Commissioner Spicer
Action: Aye: Commissioners Kelley, Spicer, Edwards,
Leeper and Chair Boatright
Follow up: County Manager, Financial Services, OMB
SS161012SS – 06:57:03
Discussion: Commissioner Leeper mentioned a conversation he had with John Rutherford regarding assistance that may be available to small business owners. He will send information to Mr. Estep regarding assistance available for small businesses.
Commissioner Edwards thanked Mr. Estep and those who participated in the Emergency Operations Center during the event for their tireless efforts for the citizens of Nassau County.
Chair Boatright mentioned if anyone has issues with contractors during this recovery period to report same to the Office of the Attorney General. Likewise, those citizens with issues regarding insurance companies should report same to Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Additionally, Mr. Estep urged citizens to be aware of hurricane related email scams and phone calls and report same to the EOC to confirm certain entities are attempting to make contact.
There being no further business, the special session of the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners adjourned at 7:01 p.m.
Walter J. Boatright, Chairman
John A. Crawford, Ex-Officio Clerk