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Approved Aug 29, 2007 - Local Mitigation Meeting Minutes

Santa Rosa County
Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS) Task Force
Steering Committee
August 29, 2007
Milton, Florida

The Santa Rosa County LMS Task Force met on the above date with 18 members present. A copy of the sign in sheet showing attendees is attached in the file. Walker called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m.

HunterWalker moved approval without objection of the amended minutes from the February 14, 2007 meeting asstated:

“On page 3 under Other Business & Public Comments the statement that reads ‘She said the County rating should change from a 7 to a very high 7 or a low 6.’ should be amended to read ‘She said the County rating should change froma 7 to a very low 7 or a high 6.’.”

Flood Mitigation Planning Discussion

Sharon Marsh said an application was submitted for some planning to update the County’s Flood Mitigation Plan, and the State has decided to not accept any applications for planning. She said the State will consider the application for the next cycle without the County having to resubmit it. Marsh said there is still a lot to do in the interim to get the County’s Flood Mitigation Planupdated. She said a better list of priorities attached to sound data needs to be developed that will provide for good applications when opportunities are presented. Marsh provided a handout outlining the process for updating the Flood Mitigation Plan. (Attached in file) She said staff looked at what type of process was needed to integrate flood plans and the County’s Comprehensive Plan into the Flood Mitigation Plan. Marsh briefly discussed parts ofthe updating process.

Daniel Hahn said the County has just implemented the Emergency Support Function 18. He said he has been working with all the Chamber of Commerce offices in the County to compile a list of businesses, and he hopes to eventually determine which businesses are located in flood plains, which businesses have generators, and which businesses are willing to work in the Emergency Operation Center after disasters. Marsh said critical businesses in flood plain areas need to be identified and restored quickly after disasters. She said the County needs to do whatever is necessary to assist the critical business facilities with mitigation activities.

Marsh said she would like to see better and more measurable goals and objectives. She said Mitigation Strategies need to be prioritized and linked to specific projects that have been identified in the assessment. Marsh said the Action Plan needs to be very specific detailing what will be done to implement the strategies that the committee identified. She said the priorities list should be linked to the Action Plan.

Marsh said a hard and specific Evaluation Plan needs to be implemented. She said being able to document the County’s ability to recover from a disaster quickly because of improvements is critical to the long term success of bringing in money from a variety of sources. Marsh said she felt the County will be much more capable of dealing with future
disasters if this plan is implemented correctly. She asked for any additional suggestions for the process plan. Hahn said tracking success stories is predicated on having more
disasters; therefore, tracking is a very difficult long term goal.

Marsh provided a handout outlining the Floodplain Mitigation Planning Project. (Attached in file) She said the committee has talked about having a core group of people to work on this project. Marsh discussed the suggested makeup of the group. She said members need to be able to reach out and talk with citizens in their communities about mitigation options and find out how citizens want storm and flood related problems resolved. Marsh said citizen’s input is critical in the success of this project. She said she felt several people from the community will bring a different perspective to the planning project group. Hahn asked how the prospective community members will be obtained. Marsh said she will contact any prospective members suggested by the committee. She said the candidates need to be interested and willing to attend meetings and help with obtaining community input. Marsh said she felt one or two business people as well as residents from different areas in the County are needed for a good cross section of members. Hahn said he felt the Chamber of Commerce offices are a good source for getting suggestions for possible members. Marsh said the Floodplain Mitigation Planning Project Group needs to sit down with the Chamber of Commerce offices to find out what can be done to help the group reach out to communities. Tony Gomillion said he felt someone from the insurance industry will be a good candidate for the group. He said there is an insurance agent from Jay on the Local Planning Board that may be a good candidate. Josy Combs said there was an insurance class that met at the Public Services conference room recently, and she suggested using a sign in sheet to locate possible group members that may be interested in serving. Karen Thornhill said she felt a real
estate agent will be a good group member. She said she can get phone numbers of area realtors from the President of the Northwest Florida Women’s Realtor Association. Donna Adams said the Board of Realtors can also be contacted to obtain phone numbers for realtors in this area. Warren Brown said Navarre has a Town Center Committee, and he felt someone from that committee needs to be part ofthe group.

Hahn said he will be having a meeting with all the Chamber of Commerce offices at the end of September. He said he will send out invitations for this meeting.

Marsh said she felt the group can be created and can start moving forward with the group members listed on the handout if everyone on the LMS Committee is in agreement. She said the group needs to start with the assessments portion of the project. Marsh said the biggest part of the project will be interacting with the communities. She said she felt there is no need for a vote by the LMS Committee to create the Floodplain Mitigation Planning project group.

Update of Ivan and Dennis Hazard Mitigation Projects & Grant Applications

Marsh said all the sewer extensions submitted under Ivan were denied. She said the County accepted the decision and asked for funds to be moved to the Holley by the Sea project. Marsh said the offer made for the Holley by the Sea project was less than the 75/25% and the County asked it to be considered under Tier 2. She said all other stormwater projects are currently finishing up with Phase 1. Marsh said all shutter projects for public buildings are either halfcompleteor being staggered in.

Adams said the City of Milton has been given a stormwater grant for Elva Street. She said a commitment for the match was made by the City. Adams said a contract was received for retrofitting the Police Department, and the match for the retrofitting is a global match.

Marsh said the City of Jay does not have any changes. She said the City of Gulf Breeze received approval for their stormwater project.

Marsh said she felt the County did pretty well overall regarding hazard mitigation projects and grants under Hurricane Ivan. She said the majority of the projects submitted by Santa Rosa County were approved. Marsh said other counties were not as fortunate.

Adams said the City of Milton is still waiting for approval for the Locklin Lake project. Marsh asked Adams if she felt there is any chance for approval. Adams said she is not sure but felt there will be little funding if it is approved.

Marsh asked the number of residential shutter projects for Hurricane Dennis. Combs said 24 projects were submitted. She said 7 residential shutter projects have been completed,
10 projects are well under way, 3 or 4 are stagnant, and 3 projects are waiting on FEMA approval. Combs said most applicants are very pleased with the ease of the program. Marsh said staff received good feedback from residents that are very appreciative of the County’s assistance.

Marsh said the other project submitted is the Ward Basin Stormwater project. She said she felt there is not enough data to do a benefit cost analysis. Marsh said she is not sure if there is anything else that can be done for this project. She said the Ward Basin Stormwater project revealed a good lesson to break projects up into small parts to make for better affordability.

Marsh said a couple of shutters were submitted under the competitive process in January, and no response has been received on these submittals. She said she will inform everyone
as soon as she gets a response. Marsh said she expects both the Flood Mitigation and Pre- Disaster Mitigation grants to open up earlier in the fall. She said decisions need to be
made on whether or not to submit competitive applications. Combs said the RFP for competitive grants was received. Walker asked what projects are on the HMGP competitive list. Marsh said the benefit cost analysis data for the priority projects currently on the list from the municipalities and the County is a problem. She said there are several projects high on the priority list that staff can not get needed data for because the projects are old and the information is no longer available. Marsh said there are a lot of projects on the list that either need to have data developed or moved further down the list. She discussed the large turnover rate of State and FEMA personnel affecting grant applications. Marsh said she will gladly help anyone with strong competitive projects. Walker asked the deadline for the competitive grants. Combs said she is not sure. She said she will have to look at the RFP. Marsh said an email can be sent out informing everyone of the deadline for competitive grants. She said the committee can get together for an emergency meeting, if necessary, to make decisions concerning priorities that need to be applied for. Marsh said the competitive grant is very competitive and hard to get due to small amounts of money being made available nationally. Adams asked if any money received has been from the competitive category. Marsh said no. She said all grants received were allocated funds. Combs said the pool of competitive funds is currently smaller because of recent nationwide disasters. She said everyone that was not affected by a disaster is applying for remaining competitive funds. Walker said a special
meeting can be scheduled to discuss any grants that have deadlines that willexpire before the next regularly scheduled LMS meeting.

Marsh said the priority list needs to be reprioritized before any grants are applied for. She said she can look at the priority list and make suggestions on which priorities she felt should be avoided and which priorities might be good possibilities. Walker said the priority list is very old. Gomillion said he felt some of the older priorities on the priority list need to be removed. Marsh said the priority list is a very large list, and some of the priorities will not stand up to the hazard mitigation process. Walker said the priority list needs to be cleaned up to fit into the required framework of HMGP grant performances. Combs said it is good to know ahead of time which projects might stand a chance for approval.

Walker said making sure successes are documented is key to future grant approval. He said engineering and data are also very important. Walker said the County has fallen short in documenting successes. Hahn said it is hard to get data on past mitigation efforts because no one tends to keep those types of records. Marsh said people need to become more acutely aware of when an event has occurred and what needs to be done on the ground immediately to document what has happened, including taking a lot of pictures. She said FEMA wants to see a lot of pictures, and they want the pictures taken immediately after the event. Marsh said FEMA wants to see pictures of the flood waters and the damage. She said not having pictures makes it more difficult to get approval. Marsh said she felt the County will have more successful applications if more documentation and pictures are compiled. Hahn said there was a recent damage assessment course provided by the State. He said a lot of the attendees were volunteers from the south end of the County. Walker said discipline is needed to do what is necessary to get needed documentation when instinct is to do other things. He said there are people who respond to disaster problems, but they need to take pictures to help document the problems. Gomillion said the County needs to make sure there is a designated person to do the documentation. He said otherwise, people will try to do other things that seem more important at the time, and the documentation will not get done. Walker agreed. He said one person in each group sent out after disasters to specific areas
needs to be assigned the task of documenting and taking pictures of damage.

Other Business & Public Comments

There was discussion on future LMS meetings being held at the Public Services conference room instead of the Emergency Operations Center. Everyone was in agreement to hold future meetings at the Public Services conference room.

Next Meeting Date/ Adjournment

The next LMS meeting is tentatively scheduled for November 14, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. at the Public Services conference room.

There being no further business to come before the committee at this time, the meeting adjourned at 2:21 p.m.