Clay County now has an official plan for how to handle natural disasters.
In a special meeting Monday, the Clay County Commissioners signed off on a resolution to adopt a Pre-disaster Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.
"Plan options for just about any disaster, including tornadoes, earthquakes and floods, are included in the mitigation plan," Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband said. "This will help us be ready for whatever might be thrown at us and it was put together at no cost to the county."
Husband added the plan has been in the works since June 2006 and also provides the possibility to apply for numerous grants.
"It gives us the option to receive grants to purchase items like weather radios or even tornado sirens," he said. "The plan also identifies critical infrastructures throughout Clay County and may even help the county receive reimbursements for repairs following natural disasters."
West Central Indiana Economic Development District (WCIEDD) Economic Development Planner/Grant Administrator Terry Jones said the plan has been complete since the beginning of the year and was recently approved by the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
"We initially sent the plan to the state for approval back in February and they were supposed to pass it along to FEMA, but that didn't happen until July, after the major floods hit the area," he said. "It meets all of FEMA's criteria, was also approved by the state and it provides one more source of funding for the county."
Jones added the cities and incorporated towns within Clay County will also have the option of adopting the mitigation plan to be able to apply for grants specific to their needs.
"Typically, the grants require a 20-25 percent match from the applicant," Jones said. "However, for low-income communities, there is the possibility the match may be as low as 10 percent."
Husband added the amount of grant money available varies from year to year.
"The amount of grant money available is based on how much disaster activity there was the previous year," he said. "With a couple of tornadoes, major storms and the flooding this year, there should be quite a bit available to apply for next year."
WCIEDD will be the official grant writers for the applications filed from the cities, towns and county, and Jones said there are a number of options to choose from.
"The cost benefit of the project is a major factor in the approval of grants," Jones said. "But, there are grants to help with drainage, ditches, strengthening structures against earthquakes and they could also be used for the proposed detention pond."
Jones added once the plan is adopted by the cities and towns, it will be sent to the state for final approval.