For immediate release
Participation key to hazard mitigation planning
ST. JAMES—Tammy Snodgrass, assistant director of Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), stressed the importance of participation in the hazard mitigation planning process at MRPC’s monthly board meeting Oct. 8 in St. James. Seven of the Meramec Region’s eight counties are in some stage of hazard mitigation plan updates.
Hazard mitigation planning is required by the federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and a number of FEMA grants require that the receiving city, county or school district have a current plan in place in order to be eligible for funding.
“We’ve seen more state and federal agencies that want to know that potential projects are part of a planning process before funding a project,” Snodgrass said.
She also pointed out that some agencies look to hazard mitigation plans for possible grant projects when disaster funds are available.
Individuals who should be involved include local elected officials, school, districts, public works supervisors, flood plain managers, local planners, road and bridge supervisors, emergency management directors, public health, emergency responders and media. Snodgrass emphasized completing the community questionnaire early in the planning process and to involve folks who can accurately provide information. Completing the questionnaire may require asking different people to assist with different parts of the questionnaire. Snodgrass said that when multiple entities and jurisdictions work together on these plans, it can be very beneficial to the county and local communities.
“It enables jurisdictions to have a comprehensive approach – especially when you have hazards that cross jurisdictional lines. The process allows for sharing costs and resources, avoiding duplication of efforts, improving coordination and communication efforts and allowing opportunity to access grant funds and address hazards,” Snodgrass said.
Snodgrass also pointed out the importance of plan adoption. Every jurisdiction must complete a survey and adopt the plan to be covered by the plan. This is important to be eligible for some grants.
Current plan updates are due as follows: Pulaski County is in review with SEMA/FEMA; Phelps County to be completed by April 2021; Gasconade County to be completed by September 2021; Washington County to be completed by November 2022; Crawford County to be completed by December 2022; Osage County to be completed by December 2022; and Dent County to be completed by March 2023. The total cost of a plan update is $29,333.33. SEMA provides grants of $23,000, and the counties are required to match $7,333.33. MRPC allows for up to $3,000 of that match to be in-kind from non-elected officials.
For more information on planning efforts, contact Snodgrass by calling 573-265-2993 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other business, the MRPC board:
- Approved the RLF plan submitted to the Economic Development Administration for a micro-loan lending program to meet working capital and fixed asset needs through the $780,000 EDA CARES grant MRPC received. The Meramec Regional Development Corporation reviewed the RLF plan at its Wednesday Oct. 7 meeting and recommended adoption;
- Discussed with Hannah Larrick from Sen. Blunt’s office the need for clarity on CARES reimbursements especially where parochial schools and businesses are involved;
- Learned that the MRPC board has an at-large vacancy for its private lending position;
- Was encouraged to discuss associate memberships with potential businesses in their area that might be interested. Costs for associate memberships are $500 for Platinum, $350 for Gold and $250 for Silver. Interested individuals can contact Linda Carroll at MRPC by calling 573-265-2993 or emailing email@example.com;
- Heard an update from Executive Director Bonnie Prigge on roadway safety. This year, there have been 744 roadway fatalities statewide as compared to 663 at the same time last year. Additionally, Prigge is serving on the Statewide Coalition for Roadway Safety advisory committee, and Buckle Up Phone Down day is Oct. 16; and
- Learned of three funded infrastructure projects in the region which include the bridge over Goose Creek in Washington County, an ultraviolet disinfection system for Bourbon’s wastewater treatment facility and upgrades to Bland’s water system.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. Gasconade County Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel serves as chairman of the board. A professional staff of 34 offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.