It has been more than six years since Hurricane Katrina battered the southeastern United States with a deluge of mayhem and destruction, and while the scars still haven’t completely faded, Santa Monica is proving it is never too late to lend a helping hand. Last month, City Hall formally approved the donation of various municipal fleet vehicles and equipment to the City of Bayou La Batre, Alabama.
The vehicles and equipment were originally loaned from Santa Monica to Bayou La Batre in 2005 shortly after Hurricane Katrina stuck the Gulf Coast. Two months later, the City of Santa Monica adopted the small fishing village as a sister city, which is located in the southwestern corner of the state’s Gulf of Mexico coastline.
While the equipment and vehicles were near or at the end of their useful life, City Hall stated Bayou La Batre officials indicated the vehicles are still serviceable for their rural needs.
The items originally loaned and set for donation included six chainsaws, six Ford pickup trucks, three crane trucks, a pair of service trucks, two weed whackers, two Armadillo sweepers, one Jacobson mower, one GMC dump truck, and a backhoe.
While the 24 items were originally loaned from Santa Monica to Bayou La Batre, a staff report to council members stated the agreement was structured to allow transfer of ownership at a later date, subject to Council approval.
The City of Bayou La Batre recently requested to finalize the donation process.
“The loaned vehicles and equipment have no operational value to the Santa Monica municipal fleet,” the staff report stated. “The current value of the vehicles and equipment is estimated to be no more than $70,000. The cost to ship the vehicles and equipment back to Santa Monica exceeds their value.”
By transferring title of the vehicles and equipment to the City of Bayou La Batre, the City of Santa Monica would not incur the cost of shipping, removal, and disposal.
Council approved the donation as part of its consent calendar during its Dec. 13 general meeting.