MAGALIA, Calif. — Gavin Newsom signed his first two bills as California’s Governor, one of which will provide more than $130 million in funding for wildfire recovery.
One day after signing, Newsom, along with elected officials from across California, visited communities in Butte County devastated by wildfires.
Assembly Bill 72 and Assembly Bill 73 will provide emergency funding to local governments that are struggling to stay afloat because of recent wildfires. The $131 million in emergency funding will allow schools to reopen and offer emergency funding to local governments by back-filing property taxes.
“I have no trepidation in saying this, Paradise will come back stronger, more vibrant, than ever,” Newsom said during a press conference.
More than 14,000 homes and businesses were destroyed during the Camp Fire in Butte County in November 2018, leaving local governments struggling to find funding after losing their property tax base.
Newsom spoke with a group of kindergarten through 8th grade students at Pine Ridge Elementary School in Magalia. He asked children and parents about their living situations since the fire.
Camp Fire survivor Katrina Hornbuckle spoke with the Governor. She lost her home in Magalia and is currently living with her family in a trailer in Chico.
“We know it’s going to happen,” Hornbuckle spoke of rebuilding. “It’s just a matter of how much time it’s going to take.”
Samantha Hasty was there with her 4-year-old daughter. She lives in Magalia and is one of few in the area who still have a home. She hopes the new measures will help bring folks back to her community.
“I want to see my friends, who are living in trailers right now, who have no place to park their trailers. I want them to be able to have a spot up here,” Hasty said.
Many Camp Fire survivors are now living in recreational vehicles or trailers. Crews are currently working on removing debris from burned out homes and businesses.
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When disaster approaches, the body cams of first responders and eyewitness accounts are the best way to get an idea of what it's like to face a life-or-death race against the clock.