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Red tape stalls stimulus project in San Antonio

Red tape stalls stimulus project in San Antonio

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Published by John Tedesco
City documents show how a "shovel ready" stimulus project to build two fire stations in San Antonio is a year behind schedule. News story here: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/Red_tape_delays_some_stimulus_projects_97448789.html
City documents show how a "shovel ready" stimulus project to build two fire stations in San Antonio is a year behind schedule. News story here: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/Red_tape_delays_some_stimulus_projects_97448789.html

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: John Tedesco on Jun 30, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Carl Wedige
Rodney HitzfelderSent:
Monday, February 01, 2010 7:46 AM
Charles N. Hood
Carl Wedige; Erik Walsh
Stimulus Money Situation
I didn't get a chance to fill you in on the meeting with Erik, Carl, Betty and Debbie on Friday. It appears that our target tobuild 50 and 51 may be greatly impacted by federal requirements - up to an additional year delay. We found this outThursday and I wanted Erik to know asap. Carl and I explained to him that a year is not a short delay, and that the new,displaced engine and truck company will cost us $2.6 million a year and provide little service to the target area.Addtionally, the 2nd TRT plan really doesn't work under these circumstances. We compared $2.6M to the grant for 51'sand decided that we are not coming out ahead waiting a whole year. Complaints will come from FF's, Union, residents,council, etc. We don't feel 50's is the same situation since we are already providing service from a good temp location.
Discussion was had about:
Just keep going (not good).
Reject entire grant and seek shortfall funds.
3.Try to reject 51's funds only, and keep 50's funds. Seek shortfall funds.4.Try to move 51's funds to another project in the near future.
The discussion Friday ended with the following scenarion:
Inform the appropriate council people and CM.
2.Erik will contact Intergovernmental Relations Dept. to advise them.3.Contact Ciro Rodriquez (since he jumped on the Media announcement initially ) and advise him that this timeline is notin line with our needs (maybe mayor contact or trip to DC). FEMA stated to me that "shovel ready" was nbt a term in their
4.Plan trip to DC to personnaly contact congressional delegation by "chiefs in dress uniforms" to ask that Stimulus fundsfor #51 be separated from #50, and be moved to another project. We should consider either 27,
or maybe 52 (infill).Let me know if you want to talk more on this. This info is close hold at this time.
Office of the City ManagerP. 0. BOX 839966
February 5, 2010Congressman Ciro Rodriguez2351 Rayburn HOBWashington, DC 20515RE: ARRA Grant for 2 new San Antonio Fire StationsDear Congressman Rodriguez:
In October 2009„ the City of San Antonio received a notice of a grant award for a total of $7.3 million inAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to build 2 new fire stations to serve the citizens of San
Antonio. These 2 fire stations will serve people in 2 underserved areas of the City and reduce
response times from 8 minutes to 4.55 minutes.We are very happy to receive such a grant award, however, the grant originally was expected to cause a
6 month delay in the completion of the facilities. At first, the City had intended to have these 2 stations
operational in October 2010 when two new fire companies are ready to occupy them and provide service.
As a result of some added green building design and construction requirements of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) we committed to our community that these fire stations would
be operational by April 2011. Two new companies are planned to be temporarily housed in the nearestfire facility that has space. Housing the new companies at existing facilities is a transitional solution butdoes not afford our community with the level of service that they would receive if the new stations were
built in the locations that we have selected (see attached service area maps).
Unfortunately, we have run into a few more hurdles in this process. We had expected to start preparingthe necessary environmental permits for these 2 projects months ago. However, FEMA had advised us
that we should not move forward with environmental clearance until we received notice that such
clearance was necessary. On January 25, 2010, a conference call with FEMA was held and we were told
that as a condition of the ARRA grant, an Environmental Assessment is required for each fire station. An
Environmental Assessment will take 60 days and review/approval by FEMA would take could take up to 3
additional months to complete. In addition, FEMA has not provided a timeline for review of our project
budget but we are told that FEMA has 6 months to get back with us. This will delay our project by a total
of almost a year which is not acceptable to our citizens.
We are asking your assistance in getting FEMA to move more quickly on the budget and environmental
reviews so that we may keep our commitments to our neighborhoods and begin providing a higher level
of fire protection. The City has already invested $2.6 million dollars in annual costs to bring on two full fire
companies to serve this area and we are unable to realize the service improvement commensurate with
that cost. The safety of our community is too important to wait another year, therfore, we are also
considering requesting the grant for a replacement fire station if FEMA is unable to respond to our needsfor these new fire stations in a manner that is more timely than they are currently indicating.
Sincerely,Erik Walsh
Assistant City Manager

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