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Morning Sun
  • County talks mitigation plans, money

  • Five years ago, officials from throughout the county gathered together to work on a comprehensive, complete hazard mitigation plan that would help identify potential plans for improvement ahead of emergencies. While some of those plans have received grants and others have been completed, there’s just one problem with the plan — it’s soon to expire.

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  • Five years ago, officials from throughout the county gathered together to work on a comprehensive, complete hazard mitigation plan that would help identify potential plans for improvement ahead of emergencies. While some of those plans have received grants and others have been completed, there’s just one problem with the plan — it’s soon to expire.
    Crawford County emergency manager Eldon Bedene told commissioners Tuesday that a new requirement is coming down from higher levels that these hazard mitigation plans must now be regional rather than county-specific. That’s forcing Bedene and others to hit the reset button on the mitigation plans.
    “We had thought all we had to do was add to our plan, but they said no,” Bedene said.
    Hazard mitigation funds come from a small percentage of money paid out by insurance companies during disaster recovery, which is then funneled down to the state of Kansas and then on to the respective agencies. These funds can be used by the state for anything from ditch clean-up to power line repair to storm sirens to “safe” rooms.
    In effect, Bedene said, the 2008 plan has been thrown out to go regional.
    “We have to go through 2008 opportunities and see which are done, what percentage is done and more,” Bedene said. “Anyone can apply for new projects could do it now.”
    Bedene spoke to the commissioners about having to turn in what is effectively a “wish list” of projects in the county by Friday. Later, the state may decide which projects, if any, it will fund. Usually these grants are at a 75/25 percent grant/match.
    “You really don’t know what happens until the federal government signs the release, it goes to the state, then goes to the county. If you don’t all agree [in your region], you can’t use it,” he said.
    Bedene said there will be at least one major meeting between now and October, when the current plan expires, as well as another meeting in October at the deadline.
    The Crawford County Commission also heard the annual report from Community Corrections. The changes in the coming year include the start of  a substance abuse group.
    “It’s a group that’s going to incorporate our clients that are not eligible for treatment. They run into a double-edged sword that they’ve got to use in order to receive treatment,” said Tracy Harris, Community Corrections director. “We’ll work with their coping skills and we’ll work with how to evaluate and how to think.”
    Further, as an incentive for completing major programs, like the substance abuse program, Harris plans on having a career-focused ending, in which clients can work on resumes, interview skills, practice mock interviews and speak with a representative from KansasWorks.
    Page 2 of 2 - Commissioners asked about the effect of cuts from the state, and Harris said that after a major cut of roughly 20 percent three to four years ago, it’s largely leveled off lately. Furthermore, there are bills under consideration that could add funds to the field.
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