Wednesday, August 12, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 23

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 11th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 50 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 50

County receives $28.1 million in Thomas Fire settlement


Almost two years after pursuing litigation following the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides in Montecito, Santa Barbara County received $28.1 million in a settlement it reached with Southern California Edison.

The county filed a lawsuit seeking damages from the utility company—which is blamed for one of its power lines sparking the fire—on April 18, 2018, just a few months after the disasters occurred. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved the allocation of this funding during its meeting on Feb. 11. 

According to a staff report from the meeting, more than $10 million will go toward road improvement projects in the Montecito area. County Public Works Director Scott McGolpin told the board that it took 50,000 truck trips to remove the debris that accumulated in the area during the mudslides after the fire. 

“All these roads lost about 10 to 20 years of service life in a matter of a few months,” McGolpin said. 

The board also approved setting aside nearly $8 million for the general fund when the county drafts its fiscal year 2020-21 budget later this year. The staff report states that county staff recommends this funding be used for one-time expenses that improve public safety as well as emergency preparedness, response, or recovery.

Although this funding helps aid some of the county’s recovery from the two disasters, it doesn’t cover all the damages. During the meeting, Assistant County Executive Officer Jeff Frapwell said the county experienced damages totaling more than $94 million. 

Frapwell said the county could still receive an additional $2 million to $15 million as a result of this settlement, but this amount is associated with projects and damage claims the county has pending with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

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What do you think of the Lompoc prison facilities' ways of mitigating the spread of COVID-19?

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