County not eligible for hazard help

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Lincoln County supervisors were informed Monday that the countywill not be able to benefit from grants and loans in many federalhazard mitigation programs.

“The only part of the Hazard Mitigation Program we qualify foris the storm shelters,” said Clifford Galey, director of thecounty’s emergency management association.

Millions of dollars in hazard mitigation funding are availablefor projects designed to help Mississippians recover from HurricaneKatrina and to prevent damage from future storms, Galey said.

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However, Lincoln County cannot qualify for many of thoseprograms because it chose not to participate in the NationalFloodplain Insurance Program, he said.

Supervisors decided not to participate in the floodplain programbecause it requires someone to be designated as the floodplainmanager and sets certain building code requirements, Galey said.The floodplain manager would also be responsible for issuingbuilding permits in the county and making building inspections atcertain stages of construction.

“It would be similar to what the city has,” he said.

Non-participation in the floodplain program does not exempt thecounty residents from applying for storm shelters under the “SafeRoom” program, however, Galey said.

Several hundred residents attended a meeting at the LincolnCounty Multi-Use Facility Feb. 9 to learn about the program. Itwill reimburse up to 75 percent of eligible costs to propertyowners for the construction of safe rooms or storm shelters toprotect against the dangers posed by extreme winds.

The maximum federal share awarded to any eligible participant inthe program is $3,500 for residential structures and $5,000 forcommunity shelters.

Galey said he has received 80 safe room applications. Thedeadline for county residents to submit the application to hisoffice is March 10.