BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Paradise town officials announced on Wednesday that an ordinance allowing residents to return to Paradise before the debris removal is completed could jeopardize federal funding due to health and safety measures.
The town council recognized that it passed Ordinance 573 on Dec. 11, 2018, which allowed for the temporary placement of an RV on properties in Paradise prior to debris removal.
The action was taken to try to ease the emergency housing situation caused by the displacement of over 26,000 residents, according to a news release from the town of Paradise.
However, officials now have concerns that the action could place reimbursement from federal funding in jeopardy due to health and safety hazards.
The Town of Paradise and Butte County are working closely with FEMA and CalOES on a solution that is sensitive to the housing needs of residents impacted by the Camp Fire, their safety as well as ensuring funding for the CalOES and FEMA debris removal program.
In the meantime, the town of Paradise has suspended the issuance of temporary power permits until it comes to an understanding with recovery partners.
We have a reporter gathering more information Wednesday. Stay with Action News Now for the latest information as it becomes available.
Butte County Supervisor William Connelly said that $1.7 billion of funding could be in jeopardy.
See below for a copy of the full news issued from Paradise officials:
The Camp Fire caused an unprecedented amount of fire ash and debris which is a public health and safety concern. FEMA has raised concern about jeopardizing the funding reimbursement for debris removal if residents are permitted to live on properties with debris as the approval of the funding was predicated on the public health and safety emergency.
Ordinance 573, passed by the Paradise Town Council on December 11, 2018, allowed for the temporary placement of an RV on properties in Paradise prior to debris removal. This action was taken to try to ease the emergency housing situation caused by the displacement of approximately 26,000 residents due to the Camp Fire. Although the Town Council took this action in good faith and with good intentions, there is now concern that this action may place our reimbursement in jeopardy as it conflicts with the public health and safety emergency.
The Town of Paradise and Butte County were informed that emergency ordinances intended to provide a process for citizens to return to their properties prior to removal of the debris may impact federal funding. The disaster assistance is predicated on the need to remedy health and safety hazards that pose an immediate risk to citizens prior to living in recreational vehicles on their properties with structures burned during the Camp Fire.
We are working closely with FEMA, CalOES and the County on a solution that is sensitive to the housing needs of our residents, their safety, as well as ensuring funding for the Cal-OES/FEMA debris removal program. In the meantime, we are suspending the issuance of temporary power permits until we have come to an understanding with our recovery partners.
While our goal is to get the debris and hazardous materials removed as quickly as possible, your safety is of the utmost importance. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this complicated issue and will have additional updates in the next several days. We, like you, look forward to rebuilding and improving our community.