By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor

The Lemoore City Council had its hands full with an extensive agenda at its regular Tuesday night meeting (April 5) last week, an agenda that included an in-depth look at Kings County’s Emergency Management Preparedness system and a possible water sale to a local non-profit housing agency.

According to a staff report, Michelle Speer, the Kings County Emergency Management Services Coordinator, provided background and general information to council members regarding California’s Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the incident Command Structure (ICS) used during emergencies. SEMS and NIMS provide for common language protocols across agencies responding during an emergency.

April 5 Lemoore City Council Agenda

According to the report, SEMS is the fundamental structure for the response phase during an emergency, and the system unifies all elements of California’s emergency management community into a single integrated system and standardizes key elements.

The SEMS protocol provides guidelines for different agencies responding during an emergency to operate within a clear and consistent organizational structure. SEMS facilitates priority setting, interagency cooperation, and the efficient flow of resources and information. NIMS is the federal systematic approach to guide agencies at all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to work together seamlessly and manage incidents involving all threats and hazards — regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity — in order to reduce loss of life, property and harm to the environment.

NIMS arose after 9/11 to ensure coordination across a broad range of agencies and organizations responding to an emergency. Both the NIMS and SEMS structures, utilize the Incident Command System (ICS) which is a standardized on-scene incident management concept designed specifically to allow responders to adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of any single incident or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. Responding to an emergency often requires the integration and combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure.

In other agenda items, a number of issues will be taken up in closed session, including conferring with the city’s legal counsel in regards to a suit by the Kings Community Development Corporation (KCDC) versus the City of Lemoore in which the KCDC hopes to get paid for the extensive work it says it did to assist the city in obtaining a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to help in the rehabilitation of the Lemoore Senior Center.

James Clark, the president of KCDC, submitted a claim last year alleging that the City of Lemoore breached its contract with the KCDC to apply for and administer the block grant.

The City of Lemoore was in fact awarded a grant of $1,419,391 on October 7, 2014 to make improvements to the Lemoore Senior Center, bringing the facility up to code, repair damage and improve energy efficiency.

However, in a memo to the Lemoore City Council dated July 29, 2015, Interim Planning Director Judy Holwell told councilmembers and city staff that despite its earlier agreement with KCDC, and after meeting with CDBG officials, the city determined that due to CDBG’s terms and conditions, the city could not allow KCDC to serve as the city’s sub-recipient and thus administer the loan, thereby cutting them out of the process.

In her memo, Holwell explained that the project can be managed by the City, with some outside assistance.

The city continues to work with Senior Center staff to get the project rolling and determine its priorities.

Councilmembers will also consider approving an agreement with Self Help Enterprises for up to two years for the sale of water to assist with the residential effort to bring relief to drought stricken communities.

According to a staff report, Intense drought conditions have left many domestic wells dry, creating the need for emergency water assistance for residents in Kings, Tulare and Fresno Counties. The State Water Resources Control Board has partnered with Self Help Enterprises (SHE), a regional non-profit organization, to provide assistance for those who qualify and meet the requirements for the California Disaster Assistance Act for Drought Household Water Tank Program.

Self Help Enterprises approached the City to consider being a water supplier to the program, and it is requesting up to 1-acre foot of water monthly, which is approximately 325,000 gallons. Water sold to SHE will not be used in the City limits and will not count towards the City’s Total Water Production. Likewise, water sold to SHE will not be subject to conservation standards adopted by the State Water Board.

 If the agreement is approved, the city manager would be authorized to grant up to 3 six-month extensions for a total of 2 years.