Troup County talks about update to hazard mitigation plan

Published 2:00 am Friday, March 15, 2019

As storm cleanup continues just one county over, the Troup County Board of Commissioners discussed an update to its Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The county is required by the federal government to update the plan every five years, and Emergency Management Director Dennis Knight said he had also seen benefits of the plan outside meeting the requirement, specifically in terms of grant funding and reimbursements that are only available with an up to date plan. He estimated that the previous plan had made Troup County eligible for millions of dollars.

County Manager Eric Mosley noted that neighboring counties are currently enacting their versions of the plan due to damage from recent tornadoes.

“We are seeing these plans become increasingly important for reimbursement through the federal government, FEMA and state,” Mosley said. “It is definitely a critical plan for us. It is one of those boxes that you have to check to receive funding. Folks like Harris County and Talbot County are probably right now enacting their plan that they created.”

According to Mosley, once approved, the plan will be available online. According to Knight, the document can be further updated by the board of commissioners at a later date as long as the changes are approved by FEMA. LaGrange, Hogansville and West Point will also need to approve the plan to create a unified plan.

“The functions of emergency management can basically be broken down into four individual overlapping areas — planning, mitigation, response and recovery,” Knight said. “Planning and mitigation take place before the emergency. Response and recovery take place after the emergency. This plan addresses mitigation. It basically looks at all the different types of hazards that we may encounter here in Troup County, and we try to come up with ways to lessen the impact of those hazards should they occur.”

No major changes to the existing plan were noted during the meeting. However, later in the meeting, County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews asked if funds designated for capital projects could be used for road projects in emergency situations. County Finance Officer Buddy Cashwell said that the county would likely make use of reserve funds before funds designated for capital projects in an emergency situation.

Other items covered by the Troup County Board of Commissioners on Thursday included:

  • The board of commissioners considered a request from Parks and Recreation to hire four to six seasonal workers to perform summer maintenance activities like mowing grass and weed eating. The positions would be funded through the budget, and the workers would make $10 an hour.
  • Juvenile court requested to be allowed to create a job posting for a vacant juvenile probation officer position. The position is budgeted.
  • The Mental Health Court requested permission to submit an application for the Accountability Court Judges FY20 grant. The grant is reimbursable and requires a 10 percent match, which is provided by the City of LaGrange.
  • The Accountability Court requested permission to submit grant applications. The grants have been used in previous years to supplement Felony Adult Drug Court, DUI/Drug Court and Family Dependency Treatment Court, and according to information released in the meeting, will not see any significant change from previous years. The grants would reimburse the county on a quarterly basis. There is a 10 percent match requirement for each grant, which will come from existing funds.
  • The board of commissioners heard a proposal to designate a portion of its fund balance as committed. Committed funds would be used for capital projects.
  • The commission considered a resolution to request sales tax information made available through State Bill 371. The information would be limited to a list of what businesses in the county are paying sales taxes without noting amounts. The county could use the information to look for businesses that the state may have mistakenly marked as the wrong county for SPLOST purposes and verify that businesses paying sales tax to the state have a business license. Under the resolution, the State of Georgia would retain control of sales tax collection and the information would not be available to the public per state law.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners will meet again on Tuesday at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Avenue.