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Fort Worth setting up standby contracts for emergency services

The City Council on Tuesday by a 9-0 vote approved “standby contracts” with six companies for debris removal and disposal services following a natural disaster, if needed.

The contracts, totaling $50 million, are being established according to Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, guidelines that allow cities to seek faster reimbursement of money if the city is declared a disaster area after an event such as a tornado, the city said. A consultant recommended the dollar amount based on what it cost Moore, Okla., to clean up after a devastating 2013 tornado.

The companies would not be used immediately, only after the city determined the debris removal was too much for city departments to handle quickly, said Fernando Costa, an assistant city manager. The City Council would need to approve the spending, he said.

“There are other cities that have them already,” Costa said of the contracts. “It makes sense for us to have them.”

Five city departments, but primarily the Solid Waste Services Division of the Code Compliance Department, may use the services. The contracts end Sept. 30, 2021.

The council also approved issuing $9.5 million in seven-year tax notes to buy 13 new vehicles for the Fire Department, including engines, brush trucks, ladder trucks and rescue vehicles. The equipment will be bought during the next 12 to 14 months. Frost Bank will finance the tax notes at 1.603 percent interest, and the first annual payment is due March 1.

Some of the equipment is for the new Fire Station 42 at Spinks Airport, which opens in the first quarter of 2018. In 1999, the city began using tax notes on a recurring basis to buy new and replacement firetrucks and apparatus. The notes are paid from the general debt service fund, which is a portion set aside from property taxes.

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