Pleasanton ratifies emergency proclamation amid storm damage | January 20, 2023 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - January 20, 2023

Pleasanton ratifies emergency proclamation amid storm damage

Council grants Beaudin financial authorization to secure supplies, professional services

by Christian Trujano

The Pleasanton City Council confirmed two resolutions that will allow city staff to continue their work in responding to emergency damages due to the recent and upcoming rainstorms during a special meeting last week.

According to City Manager Gerry Beaudin the atmospheric river storms, which started on New Year's Eve and have continued throughout the first week of the year, have caused about $5 million in public damages.

He also said that the public and private impacts of the storms were the reason why he proclaimed a local emergency on Jan. 9, which had to be ratified by the council. Councilmember Valerie Arkin was the only member not present during the special meeting Jan. 11.

"We want to best position ourselves for any potential cost recovery that we could see," Beaudin said. "The tree damage and flooding impacts continue and we are expecting more weather in the days to come so the emergency declaration would be in place until we are able to move away from repairing, replacing and cleaning up from the storm damage and we have a good understanding of the damage totals that we're expecting."

Along with ratifying the city manager's proclamation, the council also approved a resolution that gives him financial authorization to purchase supplies such as sandbags and extend or purchase new city contracts with professional services.

One example of those professional services, Beaudin said, would be the trucks that suck the dirt out of pipes.

Normally, if the contract for such a service hits its maximum limit and the city wants to keep them working, then they would need to go through its regular process of amending the contract to add that extra dollar amount -- which can take weeks to ratify.

"What this would say is I would authorize staff to extend that contract for $60,000, $50,000 the same day," Beaudin told the council. "They keep working and then at the next regular council meeting, I would come to you and I would say, we did an amendment to this contract at this amount, on this day, for these purposes and ideally, you will ratify that decision. If you're not happy with it, I would expect to hear about it publicly, and probably in my next performance evaluation."

But while the council unanimously voted in favor of both these resolutions, which give Beaudin more financial and decision-making flexibility as the acting city's director of emergency operations, council members had some questions during the 30-minute meeting.

The first was from Vice Mayor Jack Balch who asked when will the local emergency proclamation end?

"Our interest is in winding this down as quickly as possible. I would expect that if we could get a period of less or no rain, which would allow us to complete our damage assessments and our cleanup work, we would be able to come back to the council and sunset the local proclamation for the emergency," Beaudin said. "If we did need to put it back into place, we could certainly do that, but our goal is to not be in a state of emergency for any longer than necessary."

City attorney Dan Sodergren clarified that if the city doesn't end the local emergency proclamation in 60 days, the council can revisit it and decide whether to end it or not.

But the other main talking point that Balch and Councilmember Julie Testa touched on was if the city manager had a dollar amount limit on authorizing funds for any storm-related emergency services.

Beaudin said that he doesn't think the city will need to spend exorbitant amounts of money and that the city is hoping insurance covers most of the public damages caused by the storm. If it doesn't then those repairs will be brought to the council just like any other item.

He also said that he will work to honor the council's motion that he remain transparent during any purchases and that he will continue to work with staff on clearing up trees, debris and any other storm-related issues.

Mayor Karla Brown ended the discussion by thanking Beaudin, who had worked on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and all the first responders -- firefighters, police officers -- for all their efforts.

"It's been all hands on deck," Brown said. "I am just so impressed that the city of Pleasanton sees the need for this emergency situation -- to stand up and be there for the residents. I've received so many compliments from our residents that it just shows that we are an outstanding community and we are here for our residents."


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