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The Sacramento City Council agreed on Tuesday night to shell out as much as $350,000 in general fund dollars to correct past violations of federal flood management laws.
City officials have acknowledged that Dan Waters, a Community Development Department staffer and the son of outgoing City Councilman Robbie Waters, broke Federal Emergency Management Agency rules when he provided 35 building permits to a developer in a Natomas flood zone last year.
Councilman Waters recused himself from the vote on the “corrective action plan” Tuesday night, while the eight other members approved it.
Fong said that it was important to support the action plan to send a message to FEMA to ensure that the city is in compliance with federal rules. However, he noted that the $350,000 is a significant amount of money to pay.
“It’s a really hard thing at this time in our budget life,” he said.
Nancy Ward, a regional administrator for FEMA, complimented city staffers for working with the federal agency. “I, certainly, from a federal agency perspective, have gotten the true meaning of the word ‘partnership‘ from this city in terms of their hard work and their tenacity ... in humoring FEMA through its challenging program requirements.”
The plan includes several steps the city must take. In Natomas, four partially built homes, one completely built home and a multi-car garage must be torn down, according to a city staff report. Two fire-damaged homes will receive private flood insurance paid by the city, said Department of Utilities spokeswoman Jessica Hess. The Community Development Department must also have a certified floodplain manager on staff, according to the report.
“We clearly made a very, very serious mistake,” Tretheway said.
Read the report and all the steps the city must take here.
Photo by Kathleen Haley.
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.