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Public Safety

County officials rally resources for flood victims

Mud washed out of Chollas Creek and onto nearby streets on Jan. 23, 2024
Erik Anderson
Mud washed out of Chollas Creek and onto nearby streets on Jan. 23, 2024

Recovery efforts by San Diego County officials were updated Thursday after the unprecedented storm earlier this week that deluged various communities in the region with more than 2 inches of rain in just two hours.

"We are bringing together the city, county and state resources to help those that need it the most," said Chairwoman Nora Vargas, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. "To all those that have been impacted, I want to make sure you know we are doing everything we can to bring you the resources you need and to make sure we help you as you recover from this natural disaster."

Vargas also announced she was postponing the State of the County address, which had been scheduled for next week on Wednesday. Instead she will host a "Day of Service" for San Diego flood victims.


Damage from the storm is most widespread in cities and neighborhoods in a line from Coronado, through densely populated areas of the city, Spring Valley and east to unincorporated La Mesa and El Cajon, according to Tom Christensen of the county Communications Office.

Property tax relief

County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk Jordan Marks on Friday announced that property tax relief is available to any property owner whose home was damaged or destroyed in an amount greater than $10,000 by the storm.

"My office is ready to help all property owners who suffered damages to their properties from the recent rainstorms and floods," said Marks. "Please, let me encourage disaster survivors to not delay in completing their applications."

The tax relief program provides a reduced property assessment that reflects a lower value for a property after damage occurs. Also, the reduced property tax will remain in effect until the property is rebuilt or repaired, Marks said.


Applications to receive the lower property tax rate must be filed within 12 months of the disaster event. File a claim at

Damage to vehicles and home furniture and appliances are not eligible for property tax relief because those personal household items are not included in property tax assessments.

Small business relief

The city of San Diego on Friday started an emergency response grant to provide funds for up to 100 small businesses and nonprofits. The Business Emergency Response & Resilience Grant will make financial assistance available with up to $2,500 per business and up to $5,000 for businesses and nonprofits in the federally designated Promise Zone and Low-Moderate Income Census tract areas.

"We are doing everything we can to ease the burden on residents and small businesses that were in the path of this natural disaster," said Mayor Todd Gloria. "Having our neighborhood businesses up and running is important for the community's recovery from the devastation, and I encourage business owners to start preparing to apply so we can get these grants out to them as quickly as possible."

According to the city, eligible expenses for the grant funds include supplies and labor for storm cleanup efforts; repairs and equipment replacement not covered by insurance; employee wages; and insurance deductibles. The current budget for the program is $370,000 through the city's Small Business Enhancement Program.

In order to qualify for the grant, business owners will need to demonstrate they were impacted by the storm and have a current Business Tax Certificate on file with the city. Only businesses with 12 or fewer employees are eligible, according to the city.

Clean up efforts

Teams from the city's Stormwater Department began Friday morning working to clear stormwater culverts along Chollas Creek clogged by material carried downstream by floodwater flows, according to the county Communications Department. Work began in Southcrest, starting in the storm channel at 38th Street and then working northeast upstream along the creek.

The city will also bring on contractors to assist with the emergency clearing work on the culverts ahead of a potential storm in the forecast for next week.

The city has identified more than 70 streets in neighborhoods including Southcrest, Mountain View, Encanto and others which were heavily impacted by flooding and have mud and debris blocking the public right of way. So far, 16 of those streets have been addressed.

County Public Works crews have been out in the unincorporated communities cleaning up storm debris on public roads and collecting damaged private property items.

As part of the County's Recovery Plan for the unincorporated area, Public Works will collect damaged private property items right from the road right of way and dispose them. They are working with a contractor who will manage the program starting Monday.

Resources and assistance for flood victims

The county will open a local assistance shelter Sunday at the Spring Valley Library, 836 Kempton St. Affected residents will be able to access a variety of local, county and state resources.

Flood victims can walk in without an appointment from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Resources on hand will include public assistance through the Health and Human Services Agency, the Department of Public Works, the Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk's office, Red Cross, 211, the state Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Department of Insurance, Christensen said.

Dozens of San Diegans have been provided shelter, food, medical services and crisis counseling at the Red Cross shelter opened at Lincoln High School.

San Diegans who want to help local victims recover from the severe storm can make financial donations to a new Flood Response Fund through the San Diego Foundation. Money from the fund will only be directed to nonprofits helping flood victims. The fund is not accepting any non-monetary donations for now.

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