City Council ratifies local emergency

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Franklin City Council ratified to make a declaration of local emergency in preparations for Hurricane Florence during Monday’s council meeting. Taylor Williams, the City Attorney and interim city manager, signed the declaration on Monday morning. During the meeting, he explained that declaration meant that the city has the ability to expend funds from the city’s unappropriated fund balances in order to cover reasonable cost for emergency services as deemed necessary to meet the emergency that the storm presents to the city.

“We will track these expenditures very carefully for purposes of potential reimbursement given the severity of the hurricane,” said Williams.

He also pointed out that with the hurricane’s wind speeds of 50-70 mph, Franklin and the rest of Southeastern VA can expect 10-15 inches of rainfall, while the western part of Virginia will receive up to 30 inches of rain. Therefore, the severity of Hurricane Florence brought up a concern about evacuation.

“The concern that was discussed at Governor Northam’s conference call is that Northam wants to call for a mandatory evacuation of Zone A,” Williams said, “Zone A are areas in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth and maybe some jurisdictions in the Peninsula. That’s several hundred thousands of people who live in Zone A, and if the governor orders a mandatory evacuation, where will they go? They can’t go west due to the conditions.”

Franklin High School will be a local shelter, which is expected to be open to the public on Thursday. However, the school can presumably hold 100-125 people, which Williams pointed out is not enough to shelter evacuees coming from areas that will be easily impacted.