No specifics yet, but signs point to flood aid

By Per Peterson

Tracy City Administrator Kris Ambuehl said FEMA, Homeland Security and the Small Business Administration’s recent tour of Tracy and subsequent interviews with homeowners should mean good things for flood-weary residents.

“There are some things that we are going to qualify for; there are going to be some benefits that are going to come to the citizens of Tracy,” Ambuehl said at Monday night’s city council meeting. “That is yet to be announced, but we did qualify for some things. That’s going to activate some federal programs and some state-level programs. The efforts of the fire department going door-to-door and (Police) Chief (Jason) Lichty documenting everything definitely worked. I gotta commend them on that. The amount of work they put into it was unbelievable.”

Ambuehl did not have any specifics to offer the council in terms of how much state or federal aid is potentially coming to Tracy residents, or when it would come.

In other flood-related news, Ambuehl told the Tracy City Council on Monday that the two-day Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) event to help flood victims turned out to be very successful and productive.

“The Red Cross was extremely happy about it,” he said. “They wanted to thank the city for allowing them to use our facilities.”

Ambuehl said a lot of good information was provided to Tracy residents at the event.

In other council news …

• A request on Monday’s agenda to hold a closed meeting concerning the liquor store was tabled, but the council did close the meeting Monday to discuss an EDA position.

• City Administrator Kris Ambuehl read off the library report in place of Val Quist, who was ill Monday. Ambuehl said asbestos removal in the basement of the library was completed last week and the bid process will begin soon for some of the basement improvements.

• Tracy Police Chief Jason Lichty said the police department is close to being caught up on all flood-related paperwork. “Things are winding down a little bit more, so we can get back to normal business,” he said.

• Lichty got a blessing from the council to move ahead with the purchase of a new squad car as long as it was within the police department’s budget.

• Like Lichty, Tracy Fire Chief Dale Johnson III said work is getting back to normal at the fire hall.

“Fire call wise, it’s started to level off a little bit after the flood,” Johnson said. “We are pretty well caught up on all of our paperwork.”

Johnson said the low Sourcewell (government discount) price on a pump truck is $362,987. Johnson said the Sourcewell bid saved the department $20,000 “and a lot of headaches,” he said.

• Ambuehl gave the liquor store report and noted that off-sale sales for July were down $7,097 from 2017. He said a lot of that can be attributed to the July 3 flood that prevented most Tracy residents from enjoying the 4th of July holiday.

“Everybody was cleaning their basements — they probably wanted a beer, but they didn’t have time to go and get it,” he said.

Ambuehl said liquor store manager Sandy Lau requested to be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Labor Day (but closed during the parade). The council had no issues with that plan.

• The council approved an easement for 324 South St.