CHENANGO COUNTY – With the increase of natural disasters in the area in recent years, Chenango County officials have taken measures that would assure eligibility for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the event of a widespread natural disaster.
A resolution to update the county’s current hazard mitigation plan was adopted by Chenango’s Board of Supervisors at a monthly meeting held Monday. The plan - a collaborative work between elected officials and the county’s department of planning and development - includes strategies to mitigate area flooding among other things, and outlines the county’s intent to use FEMA assistance should a natural occurrence be declared a disaster by federal standards.
In accordance with FEMA regulations, a municipality’s existing hazard mitigation plan must be updated every five years to qualify for federal assistance, explained Chenango County Planning Director Donna Jones. It does, however, come with a $70,000 price tag for update and review - a detail that was debated among area officials at a June meeting of the Chenango County Finance Committee.
The actuality that updating the plan comes at a heavy burden for county taxpayers was contested by committee member and Pharsalia Supervisor Dennis Brown, who argued against federal requirements that the county pay just to be eligible for federal assistance. Brown also questioned the effectiveness of a hazard mitigation plan, asking “What good does this do? How are taxpayers better prepared for flooding than they were before?”..