The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution ratifying that Santa Clara County is in a state of emergency, the first step in securing state and federal funding for damages and losses caused by the recent flooding in San Jose and other areas of the County.
The 4-0 vote on an emergency declaration was taken by the Board at the Tuesday,
February 28 meeting. Supervisor Ken Yeager was out of town on County business.
The Board also voted 3-0 on an initiative by Board President Dave Cortese that calls attention to property tax relief programs for residents affected by the flooding last week that forced evacuation orders for 14,000 in San Jose. Supervisor Cindy Chavez recused herself from hearing and voting on this item because she lives near flood-damaged properties.
Cortese called for a robust outreach campaign to let people know, in multiple languages, that flood victims may be able to pay less in property taxes through the County Assessor’s Calamity Property Tax Relief Program.
“We need to do everything we can for flood victims who have lost their homes, their cars and, in some cases, their livelihoods,” Cortese said. “And we need to reach out to them in languages they understand so they know what aid is available. We also need to reach out to landlords of renters who were affected by the flood. ”
Later this week, the Assessor’s Office will be mailing letters to property owners explaining how they may apply. County of Santa Clara Assessor Larry Stone is strongly encouraging property owners impacted by the flood to go online to request a reduction or they can mail the easy to complete application. He also pointed out that the Assessor’s Office can only provide a reduction in assessed value, which is typically reflected in the subsequent annual tax bill to be issued in October.
County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith said, “The Declaration of Emergency is the first step in recovering from significant storm and flood-related damages to our local infrastructure, including roads and bridges, public utilities and emergency services.”
Now that the Board has declared an emergency, the County will ask for estimates of damages in flooded areas, and send those to the state for the Governor to also declare a state of emergency. The current estimate, which is expected to grow, is $102 million, with half of that from San Jose.
The Governor’s declaration can trigger funding for repairs of roads, bridges, public utilities and other damaged structures. For homeowners, low-interest loans for repairs and replacements, could be available, as well as access to state services. Access to funding could take a couple months.
Information on the County Assessor’s Calamity Property Tax Relief Program is available on the Assessor’s webpage. A property owner impacted by a calamity can file a claim with the Assessor’s Office if the loss is more than $10,000 of current market value. The Assessor’s Office can issue a temporary assessment reflecting the damaged condition of the property. That reduced value would remain in effect until the property damage is repaired or rebuilt.
Other flood-related actions taken by the County:
• The Santa Clara County Social Services Agency is alerting CalFresh recipients who lost food purchased with CalFresh benefits that they will be able to replace the food they lost or had to destroy. The request for a Calfresh replacement must be made by March 23, 2017.
• Flood victims may also receive a one-time fill of prescriptions from the Santa Clara County Pharmacy Medication Replacement Services. Residents should not use medications exposed to flood water.
• The Santa Clara County Office of Supportive Housing is assisting supportive housing residents and homeless people affected by the recent flooding. OSH is working with the City of San Jose to assess relocation and housing needs. For assistance, contact the Local Assistance Center at the Shirakawa Community Center, 2072 Lucretia Avenue, San Jose, or call 408-795-1639.
• The Public Health Department also has information on keeping residents and care providers healthy and safe in flood-affected areas.
• The Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health is providing tips for people returning to homes and businesses that have been flooded, including general precautions, water quality and food safety.
Media Contacts: Janice Rombeck, Office of Supervisor Dave Cortese, (408) 299-5030 - office or (408) 803-2095 -cell; Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119.
Posted: February 28, 2017