02/04/05 — Faison Town Board approves hazard mitigation

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Faison Town Board approves hazard mitigation

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 4, 2005 2:00 PM

FAISON -- The Faison Town Board approved a hazard mitigation plan at its meeting Wednesday following a public hearing at which no one spoke.

The plan will be sent to the state for approval and eventually incorporated into Duplin County's overall hazard mitigation plan.

The hazard mitigation issue arose in 1999 in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd. To keep control of costs, the federal government began requiring local governments to adopt hazard mitigation plans in order to qualify for financial help following disasters.

The plans require technical expertise to develop, said Faison mayor Bill Igoe. The engineering firm of Hobbs Upchurch & Associates was hired to draw up the Faison plan.

"This has bounced around for 10 years," Igoe said. "Plans were submitted and refused. This is a highly complex thing."

Daniele Donolli of Hobbs Upchurch told the board members that the town's plan addresses three potential disasters: hurricanes, tornadoes and winter storms. The winter storms pose a problem, she said, because there are so few of them that the town is seldom prepared for them.

Strategies in the plan for dealing with emergencies include educating school children about disasters and how to prepare for them, mailing information to town residents about potentially dangerous situations, coordinating safety-warning broadcasts, maintaining proper building code requirements and keeping trees in the town pruned. Homeowners should remove downed tree limbs and brush each year, she said. The town already had some of these strategies in place, she said.

The plan will be updated every five years, Donolli said, and a steering committee can make adjustments as needed, following a public hearing. Other towns in Duplin are following the same guidelines, she said.

In other business, the town named Michelle Lance of Clinton as the new assistant town clerk. She replaces Kathy Warren, who was with the town eight months. Mrs. Lance previously worked for Southern Bank.

The board received an update on its water system improvement project that showed the project $46,000 over budget.

Engineer Charles McGougan of Hobbs Upchurch told the board that it cost more than expected to buy the land for the system. And he said his firm did not initially realize that an electrical subcontractor had overlooked the need for a generator at the water plant. The board accepted those and several other changes and approved the final change order, which will come out of the town's water and sewer fund.

Most of the work is being paid for with grant money. The town received a $1 million Community Development Block Grant and another $360,000 from the state Rural Economic Development Center, contingent on the town coming up with $40,000 in matching funds. The town used the money to build a new water plant, which can handle 1.5 million gallons per day, and to build a well on Solomon Street.

The water plant had begun operation, but was shut down for some unexpected work. Town officials expect the work to be finished in a few months.