City to be reimbursed $70,000 for crews sent to Irma recovery

Published 11:12 am Saturday, December 9, 2017

The check is in the mail.

Washington incurred expenses when it sent crews to help restore power in Bartow, Florida, after Hurricane Irma caused widespread power outages, but it will be reimbursed for those expenses, according to a city document. The City of Bartow is paying the city directly, according to Washington City Manager Bobby Roberson.

Those expenses totaled $70,092, with overtime paid to power-line maintenance crews coming in at $40,508 and overtime for Jeff Clark, the city’s electric director, totaling $12,046, according to a memorandum from Clark to the mayor and council members. Other expenses included $9,368 for hurricane expenses, $4,021 for FICA contributions, $3,979 for city employees’ retirement accounts and $170 for materials, according to the memorandum.

“The city is being reimbursed for its out of pocket expenses, vehicle & equipment usage, and an administrative charge,” Clark wrote in the memorandum.

During a council meeting in September, Clark told city officials that city expenses associated with sending city crews to Florida would be reimbursed.

“Here’s the way that works. We have an agreement that was set up through ElectriCities because we have a contract. In essence, Bartow pays us direct. Then, they take all of our expenses and turn that over to the federal government. So, our expenses were all generated underneath the FEMA program through ElectriCities,” Roberson said. “They (Bartow) are going to take our invoice and turn it in to FEMA. They’ll be the one with the long wait to get their money. That’s the contract agreement with had through ElectriCities.”

Bartow is the county seat of Polk County, where about 80 percent of the county was without power as a result of Irma, which also caused at least one water-treatment plant to shutdown, and several sewer pump stations were without power.

At that September meeting, the City Council unanimously authorized the city crews to make the trip as part of an ElectriCities effort to help Florida power agencies repair electric systems damaged or destroyed by the hurricane. Several other ElectriCities members sent similar crews to other areas in Florida. ElectriCities is a membership organization consisting of local governments that provide power to their residents, businesses and others.

During its meeting Monday, the council is expected to amend the city’s budget to reflect those expenses.


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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