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State of emergency opens door to aid

El Cajon council follows protocol in requesting financial help

After a March 13 proclamation that the city of El Cajon was in a state of emergency, the City Council on Monday, in a near empty chamber and with three council members participating remotely in a council meeting, formally ratified the declaration.

City Manager and Director of Emergency Services Graham Mitchell said passing the resolution primarily ensures that the local government is able to seek reimbursement from state and federal authorities for debt incurred as a result of the worldwide pandemic caused by COVID-19.

“For the most part this refers to reimbursement but it opens up the conduit to access some forms of funding as well,” El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said.

El Cajon public information officer David Richards said a good example of that funding would be for reimbursement of overtime expenses related to responding to COVID-19 and any other out of the ordinary expenditures related to the outbreak.

“The city anticipates additional costs in order to respond to the public health emergency. Specifically, the city will be incurring additional costs to increase disinfecting measures at city parks and facilities. Also, the city will likely experience overtime costs for public safety personnel during this period. Lastly, as new issues emerge, the city may need to implement programs that come with price tags.  The emergency declaration will allow for reimbursement of these foreseeable and unforeseeable costs,” Richards said.

According to an enumerated list from Mitchell, the emergency situation includes:

1. Possible extreme peril to the safety of persons and property of the city of El Cajon.

2. The strong possibility of the COVID-19 virus spreading to the city of El Cajon.                

3. The fact that many residents of the city of El Cajon have a transient lifestyle, traveling throughout the San Diego region for work and to conduct daily activities.

That list also recognized the city hosts a significant population of elderly citizens, particularly in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, residential care facilities, as well as a recognizable homeless population who might not have regular access to medical care.

As of March 16, there were 47 positive COVID-19 cases in San Diego County.


Source: East County Californian

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