Georgetown Finance Director Leigh Wallace said the budget amendments were already made due to the emergency situation the storm presented and the timing of the council meeting but will still seek council approval through a formal process.
In a typical budget amendment scenario, city staff would place official notice in the paper prior to asking for council approval.
“Due to the nature of the event and the timeline of the council meeting, we weren't able to follow that process,” Wallace said.
The following amendments took place:
- $150,000 of general fund available reserve was appropriated in public works to pursue contractors for tree limb hauling and chipping across the city;
- $150,000 of water fund available reserve was appropriated in water distribution to pursue contractors for leak detection and leak repair of water infrastructure; and
- $10,000 of general fund public works salaries was moved to fund replenishing de-icer supply.
Wallace said the $10,000 taken from public works salaries would not impact any salaries of those employees. She said the decision was made because the budget had enough in excess to accommodate the move. In time, she said the money would be returned to the original budget item.
“We felt like that was the right thing to do versus trying to take that money from some other appropriated line that needed it,” she said.
City Manager David Morgan said during the Feb. 23 council workshop the city was working diligently to keep track of all expenses incurred during the storm but that the city will not likely see any state or federal reimbursements until after the current budget cycle, which ends Sept. 30.
Wallace said that the following emergency purchases of goods and services have taken place or are in progress:
- food and water for essential employees on shift;
- shelter for essential employees on shift;
- food and supplies for the warming center;
- salt, sand and de-icer for roads;
- fuel and fuel additives;
- generators and heaters for critical equipment;
- tree and brush removal; and
- leak detection and leak repair.
City officials acknowledged that the true financial impact of the storm remains unknown.
“This is a moving, active event,” Morgan said. “We continue to have water line breaks that we're repairing throughout the system, and that's just going to be ongoing for a while.”
In order to allow staff time to collect costs associated with the storm, the city extended its state of disaster declaration through March 23 on Feb. 21.