Post Irma pt. 2
September 18, 2017
I apologize for not reaching out to the residents of Coquina Sands earlier in the aftermath of hurricane Irma. I hope that everyone and their families is well and that you did not sustain substantial damage due to the storm. The organization that sends out our email communications was not back to work because they did not have power. (Unfortunately, most of us have been in the same situation.) I have herd from a number of you who have expressed frustration about the slow pace of the restoration of our City services. In particular, the restoration of power and the lack of debris pickup have been your primary concerns.
I would encourage each of you to go to the Florida Power & Light web site to record your power outage and for you to receive updates, at www.FPL.com. Click on Outages and record your telephone number and zip code. Letting them know about our frustration by having a large number of residents show we are paying attention can only help our cause. In general, all the residents from which I have heard, find it unacceptable to have to wait so long to have power restored Other areas of Florida experiencing a similar fallout from the hurricane are up and running. The preparedness of Naples for the event appears to be far behind other communities. Attached is an update from the fire department of the percentage of power that has been restored in the City of Naples as of Saturday.
From: Steve Kofsky
Sent: September 16, 2017 1:04 PM
To: Pete DiMaria <email@example.com>; Michael Nichols <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Phillip Pennington <PPennington@naplesgov.com>
Subject: Re: POWER
New totals from FPL:
10,830 restored - 49%
11,270 without - 51%
Lieutenant Steven Kofsky
City of Naples Fire Rescue
Fire Station #3
The second issue of greatest concern to the residents of Coquina Sands is the lack of timely pickup of storm debris. The situation with the City’s plan to provide this service is expressed in the note shown below from Bill Moss, our City Manager, to Bill Barnett, our Mayor. Many people have expressed that waiting so long is totally unacceptable. Why can’t private lawn maintenance services be authorized to get this done? Many people have stated "I’m sure it could be done much more promptly.” I agree! I have written to both the City Manager and the Mayor expressing the frustration of Coquina Sands residents to the slow pace of our city services restoration and i am including them on this note.
From: Bill Moss <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2017 10:51 AM
Subject: Storm debris removal
To: Bill Barnett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: City Council <email@example.com>
To follow up on our conversation, Collier County and the City have an interlocal agreement for debris collection. Collier County has a contract with Ashbritt, the same firm that has handled debris removal for the city and county in the past. The city also has a contract in the event Collier County cannot fulfill contractual obligations, which I do not believe will be the case.
Under this arrangement, the city will pay for all costs not reimbursed by FEMA. Reimbursement by FEMA should be 90%, 5% by State, and 5% city and county.
However, we know for experience that we have to supervise the contractor, document collection, submit reimbursement requests to FEMA, and be prepared for their audits. If FEMA does not have the funds, we may not get reimbursed, or they may reimburse and then “de-obligate” later and ask that funds be returned. FEMA reimbursement is slow and may take years. Collier County estimates the county-wide cost will be $50 million, so there is a serious cash outlay issue.
Collier County wants the Corps of Engineers to assume responsibility for debris removal. 4 or 5 other states have asked the Corps to assume responsibility. Florida has not. Apparently, Governor Scott is reluctant to make that request.
If the Corps assumes responsibility, the same contractor (Ashbritt) will be used. Ashbritt’s contract with the Corps apparently has a higher rate that the County’s contract. However, the city and county pay 5% for our respective share; the Corps pays the contractor; we do not deal with FEMA; we are not subject to audits; and, most importantly, we will still manage the contractor (Ashbritt).
Again, should this information be confirmed when you attend the briefing with the Governor this afternoon, the Governor should be urged to request that the Corps manage debris removal.
Ashbritt is and has been mobilizing to start work. I believe they will be ready to begin collection by this Friday. My concern is that our residents have a lot of work to do to get their horticulture debris to the street. When Ashbritt starts collection and residents then put out their storm debris after the first pass, it will be sometime before Ashbritt returns to the street for a second pass. The sooner that residents get debris to the streets, the greater the likelihood that their streets will be free of storm debris.
I will continue to verify information on my end.
City of Naples
If you wish to express your frustration concerning either of these issues, please feel free to reach out to our City manager, the mayor, and our City council representatives. The email addresses to reach out to each of them are shown in the note above. Best regards,
Bill Lutz, President
Coquina Sands Association