TO: Mayor Wythe and Homer City Council
CC. Finance Department Procurement File
FROM: Walt Wrede
DATE: Emergency Procurement / $10,500 / Sewer Back-Up Emergency Relief
Homer experienced extremely warm conditions and substantial rainfall over the weekend of January 11, 12, and 13. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the entire Kenai Peninsula. This unseasonably warm weather and consistent rain resulted in an unprecedented amount of storm water entering the sanitary sewer system and the sewerage treatment plant. The treatment plant received more storm water than it could handle (more than three times the normal daily throughput) and the result was that one main trunk line surcharged (backed up) for a period of time on several occasions. There were three houses in low lying areas of town that received substantial damage when raw sewage backed-up into them.
The City’s insurance broker has been notified and is currently investigating the incident. In the meantime, the occupants of the three homes have been displaced and have experienced hardship. This has been a major inconvenience for them and they are forced to pay for things like cleaning, moving, relocation, rental deposits, food, replacement of personal items, and so on. I have determined that an emergency exists for these tenants and that an emergency appropriation is warranted and justified given these special circumstances. Therefore, I have authorized an expenditure of $3,500 for each of the three tenants to provide emergency relief /assistance and help them with their immediate needs. The funds can be used as the recipients choose in order to best address their individual and specific circumstances.
I have taken this action pursuant to the authority contained in HCC 3.16.020 (A) entitled “Limitation on Manager’s Authority.” This section essentially states that the Manager cannot spend more than $10,000 on a procurement without prior City Council approval unless the expenditure is already in the adopted budget. This action is also taken under the authority contained in the adopted Emergency Procurement Policy. This policy states that an emergency can be declared by the City Manager if there is an immediate need for supplies and services that affect the health and safety of any person or the preservation or protection of property. This appropriation is recommended by the Public Works Director with concurrence by the Finance Director, as required by the Policy.
This appropriation is unique because it involves the City’s sanitary sewer system and an unusual weather event. No precedent is intended or established. Further, this appropriation is intended strictly as financial assistance to help the occupants of the affected structures with immediate dislocation costs. The City expressly does not accept or admit responsibility or liability for this incident as a result of this emergency procurement.