Buda extends its local disaster proclamation

By Sahar Chmais 

BUDA – Buda City Council called for a special meeting on Sunday, Feb. 21, to extend the proclamation declaring a local state of disaster in the city.

The extended proclamation passed unanimously, and it will last indefinitely until city council decides Buda is no longer affected by the disaster. Extending the disaster proclamation means that the city will be reimbursed in all recovery costs by the federal government. 

The first issuance of the disaster, declared by Mayor Lee Urbanovsky, took place on Sunday, Feb. 14. But residents and businesses are still suffering the wrath of the storm, dealing with broken water pipes and other damages.

While subfreezing temperatures are common occurrences in many U.S. states, Texas was not prepared for over five consecutive days of below-freezing temperatures, Urbanovsky explained. 

Many council members tried to look on the bright side. The city’s communication efforts were very quick and reached many residents, thanks to David Marino, the city’s communication officer. Marino spent several nights in City Hall and ensured any updates were pushed out as quickly as possible. 

Council also thanked all the first responders, from fire fighters to public works and EMTs, calling them heroes in their efforts. During the storm, they were out helping residents whenever possible and continuing their efforts to bring electricity and water back online. Many spent consecutive nights in their facilities to ensure they do not get snowed out of their location, or to just be on-call. 

Buda suffered from the storm, but the mayor and council said they feel grateful that the city was able to fare better in their response than many other areas. 

Looking forward, Urbanovsky said there needs to be better preparation for any potential storms of this magnitude that may come.

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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